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MP: Regional pay plans are bonkers
PROPOSALS to introduce regional pay for MPs have been called bonkers by Mid-Worcestershire MP Peter Luff.
Mr Luff called the idea a non-starter and told the Worcester News that he believed parliamentarians nearer the capital have an easier job.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) wants to shake up MPs’ salaries and pensions to save taxpayers’ money.
As part of the reforms, those who take on paid second jobs could have their pay cut, while MPs nearer London and the South East would get higher salaries.
The changes are being proposed to discourage politicians from taking on outside work and to make salaries better reflect regional living costs.
Mr Luff said: “I am totally opposed to any form of regional pay. All MPs spend the bulk of their working life in London anyway.
“Those MPs who have constituencies far away from London spend an awful amount of time travelling and the idea they should be paid less money than people who have an easier life is bonkers.
“It needs to be dismissed. It’s completely insane. Being an MP away from the capital is harder, it’s very demanding and certainly shouldn’t attract less pay.”
He also said rather than penalise MPs who take on second jobs, they should be forced to do some unpaid work in the private sector to get a taste of the real world.
“All MPs should be obliged to have a limited outside interest. For example, an unpaid directorship role would keep them in touch with the outside world and increase their employability if they are ever kicked out by the electorate,” he said.
MPs earn a basic salary of £65,738 a year and can claim allowances for expenses such as office costs and travelling.
No Worcestershire MPs have second jobs, although Worcester MP Robin Walker used to receive about £30,000 a year as a financial media consultant with Finsbury, which he ended in March due to a lack of time.
He said: “I’ve always said MPs’ salaries need to be looked at independently, although I am sceptical as to how regional pay would work.
"Changes to areas such as pay and pensions are inevitable. But whatever happens, we must make sure the job attracts quality people.”
West Worcestershire Harriett Baldwin said: “As an MP I am paid a fraction of what I earned in the private sector, but I do this job because it is a vocation and a privilege and a chance to give something back through public service.”
Ipsa’s public consultation runs until Friday, December 7. Visit parliamentarystandards.org.uk
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