I’d like to say a heartfelt ‘thanks’ to all politicians.
Sometimes I scratch my head and wonder what to write in my blog that’s both interesting and relevant to EB.
Over the past few weeks, though, it’s been easy because our politicians generally, and MPs in particular, have just been making it easier and easier to write. I promise, next week, to write about something different. But today, the day that 270,000 public sector workers begin a strike over redundancy pay, I just have to mention the 1.5% payrise awarded to our MPs.
Did you know that 57% of the UK’s working population is expecting to receive no payrise at all this year… maybe you did and maybe you didn’t… but I’ll bet, like most us in EB, it’s been pretty difficult to award much of an increase for yourself.
Add to this the pay freeze in the public sector and we have to ask ourselves why MPs, especially given the year they’ve had, should get anything at all.
Well, in a move that might surprise you, I have a (fairly) balanced view of this and I think there are two good reasons for MPs to receive a payrise to balance the two reasons that say they shouldn’t.
The first is this…
There is an argument that MPs, with their £60k+ salaries are under paid for the job they do, the hours they put in and the intellectual understanding they have to bring to their work. (Whether they all bring that intellectual understanding is a blog for another day!) In fact, the argument goes, the culture of claiming ridiculous expenses comes from the idea that they don’t get paid enough in the first place.
The second reason is that MPs didn’t vote for this payrise themselves. It was a (supposedly) independent body which recognised the need for increased pay and recommended a rise that works out to about £1,000 a year for a bog standard MP.
And so to the reasons they shouldn’t accept this payrise. The first is that they’ve frozen pay for just about anyone else they can influence so, once again they are simply demonstrating that it’s one rule for everyone else and another for MPs. (See last week’s blog for the rest of the story!)
The second is that they did make a huge balls up last year and the country is still smarting from what they got away with. To accept a payrise now when many of the number have been complaining vociferously about bankers pay increases for under acheivement seems like arch hypocrisy to me.
So, what can we conclude from all of this?
Well, politicians have an incredibly challenging job. The thing is, to most of us it seems they have let us down. Why should they get rewarded with increase pay when so many people in the public sector, who haven’t made bogus expenses claims, are getting nothing?
Just my opinion!