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Comment: Why regional pay for MPs is non-starter
12:37pm Tuesday 16th October 2012 in News
MID-WORCESTERSHIRE MP Peter Luff colourfully describes plans to reform parliamentarians’ pay as “bonkers”.
He has a point. To reduce the salaries of some MPs merely because they represent areas where the cost of living is lower is grossly unfair.
It overlooks the obvious fact that MPs spend most of their time in the capital – one of the most expensive places in the country.
Another proposal from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority is that those who have second jobs could have their pay slashed – an idea that aims to discourage politicians from taking outside work.
Mr Luff disagrees. He believes MPs should have second jobs – albeit unpaid – to keep them in touch with “the real world”.
A more workable idea perhaps is simply to ban MPs from having second jobs, but require them to have worked in a non-political role for a set period before entering Parliament.
After all, being an MP should be an all-consuming vocation. It entails, we are told, working during the week, at evenings and often at weekends. There should be no time left for part-time directorships, however lucrative.
There seems little doubt, though, that the trend towards career politicians over the last 20 years or so has left Parliament short on experience. It is a deficit that needs to be addressed regardless of MPs’ pay levels.
But in light of the expenses scandal of 2009, parliamentary remuneration should above all be transparent. There is, it seems, absolutely nothing to be gained from regional pay scales but trouble.