mps' pay

Spend MPs' pay rise on new research staff

11th July 2013
11 Jul 2013
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mps' pay
money in politics

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Spend MPs' pay rise on 152 new research staff


The Electoral Reform Society has called on the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) to put the money earmarked for an increase in MPs’ salaries towards new research staff for non-government MPs.
The £3.9m per year which IPSA suggests should go straight into MPs’ pay packets could instead fund 152 full-time researchers[1] with office space in Westminster. This new research service could be dedicated to supporting backbench MPs in holding the executive to account.
 
Katie Ghose, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:
 
“MPs don’t need more spending money. What they need is more resources to be able to do their job properly. A £6,000 pay rise will not help MPs hold the executive to account or represent their constituents in Westminster.

“If we’re going to spend nearly £4m on MPs, we should spend it more wisely. A dedicated service of over 150 research staff would give backbenchers real teeth.

“While the government is able to call on the expertise and vast experience of the civil service, MPs have much fewer resources. A new research service dedicated exclusively to backbench MPs would make a huge difference to the quality of work MPs would be able to do.

“The fuss over MPs’ pay is a sideshow. It’s time we talked about giving our MPs the support they need to represent us effectively in Westminster.”

A Yougov/Sunday Times poll has found that 50% think MPs are already paid too much, while 35% think they are paid about the right amount.
For more information, comment, or interviews, email mediaoffice@electoral-reform.org.uk or call Will Brett on 07979 696 265.

[1] This figure is reached by a) assuming an average salary of £25k per annum per researcher, and b) assuming the average cost of desk space in Westminster is £670 per annum per researcher (see http://www.morganpryce.co.uk/news/westminster-office-space-prices-defy-recession).  

The MPs' salary sideshow: let's focus on the real issues

5th July 2013
5 Jul 2013
Tags: 
money in politics
mps' pay
ipsa

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The MPs’ salary sideshow: let’s focus on the real issues

 
For immediate release: Friday 5 July 12:00
 
The Electoral Reform Society is urging politicians of all parties, as well as the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), to stop worrying about MPs’ pay and concentrate on ensuring that backbench MPs are able to do their job in holding the executive to account.
 
Katie Ghose, chief executive of the Electoral Reform Society, said:
 
“The fuss over MPs’ pay is a sideshow. There are real and pressing problems around how our representative democracy is funded, but these don’t include the precise size of MPs’ pay packets.
 
“We should be focusing more on how to make sure that our representatives are able to do the best job possible. This means they need to have adequate resources at their disposal to fulfil their dual roles as both legislators and constituency MPs. Constituency work now takes up more than half their working time[1]. Considering the average MP’s week amounts to 69 working hours and 10 hours of travel[2], that’s an awful lot of casework.
 
“When MPs do manage to get to Westminster they find they are less supported than in many other countries. In the US, members of Congress can call on the services of three congressional support agencies. Just one of these – the Congressional Research Service – has 700 employees and a budget in excess of $100m a year[3]. Perhaps we should consider scaling up resources in Westminster.
 
“And finally it means ensuring that MPs are able to balance their working lives with their personal lives. For instance there is currently no provision for MPs to have maternity or paternity pay, owing to the fact they are officially self-employed.
 
“MPs need to be able to do their jobs properly. The fuss over their salaries isn’t helping.”