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Sunday Herald

MPs should try life in the real world

HOW much is enough?

It’s a question we all ask ourselves, especially at Christmas when spending becomes a national obsession. MPs in Westminster have been offered a handy little Christmas present of an 11% increase on their £66,000 pay. That’s an extra £7,600 – considerably more than the value of the state pension. Nice work if you can get it.

But MPs don’t want to get it. Most say – in public at least – they are horrified at the idea of getting 11% when the rest of the country is getting little more than a 1% increase. David Cameron said the MPs’ pay review body should think again, but Sir Ian Kennedy of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) said he won’t budge.

It’s like the Grangemouth stand-off in reverse: you will have this rise. Images of MPs standing next to braziers outside Westminster with banners demanding “Low Pay Now”, “We want less and we won’t mess”.

But the truth is, most MPs in my experience do feel badly paid and resent the fact that, as they put it, politics is becoming a game for rich people like David Cameron and his privately educated Cabinet colleagues. All right for him, they say, he’s already a millionaire. MPs claim they can’t afford to buy decent houses on their salaries and, of course, they can no longer supplement their incomes by harvesting expenses. But are MPs really so badly paid? By comparison with bankers, they are. By comparison with head teachers and GPs, perhaps. But compared to the vast majority of their constituents? Hardly.

Article in the Sunday Herald. Click here to read on. 

About @iainmacwhirter

I'm a columnist for the Herald. Author of "Road to Referendum" and "Disunited Kingdom". Was a BBC TV and radio presenter for 25 years - "Westminster Live" and "Holyrood Live" mainly. Spent time as columnist for The Observer, Guardian, New Statesman. Former Rector of Edinburgh University. Live in Edinburgh and spend a lot of time in the French Pyrenees. Will that do?


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