Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Tie in MPs' pay to the rate of minimum wage

ONE of the reasons given for the proposed increase in MPs' pay is that it has fallen behind in comparison with other professions.

However, MPs have not fallen behind the cost of living. In 1964, MPs received £3,250 a year; adjusted for inflation this is equivalent to £56,000 today.

In 1980, they were paid £11,750; equivalent to £43,000 today. And, in 1996, they got £34,000; equivalent to £54,000 now.

Their current rate of £66,390 looks good in historical terms. Where they have fallen behind a little is in comparison to 2006, when they were paid £59,686 a year – equivalent to £72,817 now.

But the reason for their relative prosperity in 2006 is that, between 1996 and 2006, MPs awarded themselves pay increases totalling 75%; over the same period, inflation was 30%.

Perhaps the fairest way to calculate MPs' pay is to tie it to the minimum wage. The minimum wage on a 40-hour week gives £13,125.

Five times that should be enough for what is, essentially, an unskilled job requiring no qualifications.

STEVEN GARRETT

By email

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