Nothing demonstrates more clearly the gulf between MPs and the real world of their constituents than the difference between their feather-bedded pay and conditions and ours.
For the rest of us to pocket the amount that the average MP claims in expenses, we would have to earn £228,215 before tax and national insurance.
None of us has a hope of getting past our bosses the sort of tax-free perks that MPs claim – never mind getting them past HM Revenue & Customs.
To calculate what MPs really get, we start with their salary, which – like you and me – they pay tax on. Then we add what taxpayers contribute to the MPs’ gold-plated pension scheme – 26.8 per cent of salaries. Pensions expert Ros Altman has called it ‘the most generous pension just about anywhere in the world’.
Then we add the expenses that MPs claim for things such as buying their second homes – and furnishing them in style from the infamous ‘John Lewis list’ – as well as their travel between those homes and Westminster and to and from constituency offices.
This figure includes what MPs claim in salaries for their staff and researchers, who are often family members and involved mostly in political campaigning. Then we work out what MPs would have to earn to take home that amount if – like you and me – they had to pay 40 per cent tax and one per cent National Insurance on the income.
This all shows that to live like an MP, the rest of us would have to be earning hundreds of thousands a year.
Published in the Mail on Sunday here