Times mp salaries nov 5 2012


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My argument in The Times (November 5) for increasing MP's salaries. Expecting very little support but it needs to be said...

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Times mp salaries nov 5 2012

  1. 1. To attract better politicians, we must pay moreThe Times5 November 2012Just before the 2010 election, I chaired a debate on behalf ofBarnardo’s between Ed Balls, David Willetts and David Laws.Memories of the expenses scandal were still raw, and when thequestion of MPs’ pay was brought up there was little sympathyfrom the floor for the idea that MPs might be underpaid. But insumming up the debate, I asked the audience whether theybelieved that a salary of a little over £60,000 would continue toattract MPs of the calibre of our three speakers: Balls, a KennedyScholar at Harvard before he was 25, Willetts, the head of theTreasury’s Monetary Policy Division at 26 and Laws, a vicepresident at JP Morgan at 22.“No Shame MacShane” — as TheSun dubbed Denis MacShane,who resigned as an MP last week after he was found to haveabused the expenses system — will have given encouragement tothose who already believe that MPs are cosseted. The IndependentParliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) reported in July that itfound little support for the notion that MPs were inadequatelyrewarded. Members of the public thought MPs were paid about£78,000 but believed they should be paid only £54,000.Of course, the current salary of £65,000 is much higher than theUK average. But it is much lower than the sort of salaries that mostcurrent and potential MPs could command. An acquaintance ofmine, a young, talented local councillor, has just abandoned herambition of entering Parliament. She has a family and, as sheobserved to me, salaries paid to many of her own council officialsdwarf an MP’s pay. She’s right. And although it’s true that MPsearn three times as much as a new nurse, they earn less, oftenmuch less, than a director of nursing.I know of a number of MPs who have been asked if they might beinterested in becoming chief executive of the NSPCC. Selfishly, Ihope that at least one of them, who makes a consistently well-informed and non-partisan contribution on childrens’ issues,declines and stays in Parliament. But that this charity would
  2. 2. double his pay might just sway him.The unpopular truth is that MPs need to be paid a lot more. Theissue, as Sir Ian Kennedy, Chair of Ipsa, has said “has beenducked, dodged or fudged to meet the political whim of themoment”. The consequences can be seen in the deterioratingquality of select committees over recent years.We need to persuade more outstanding individuals to stand forParliament. For a job that offers little security and exposesindividuals to persistent scrutiny of everything they do, £65,000 issimply not enough.Martin Narey is a former chief executive of Barnardo’s and PermanentSecretary at the Home Office