Adjust income for MPs

Proposer
mikera
State

Accepted

Vote Score

3

Age

2385 days


@mikera edited manifesto/democracy.md - over 6 years ago

MPs pay and expenses

MPs should be paid a good wage, based on the income profile of the country. It could, for instance, be set at the 75th income percentile, though this is not a final proposal. All MPs would receive this same wage, which would change on an annual basis as the average wage changes.

MPs should be paid a good wage, based on the income profile of the country. It could, for instance, be set at the 90th income percentile, though this is not a final proposal. All MPs would receive this same wage, which would change on an annual basis as the average wage changes.

Serving MPs should not hold second jobs unless they can show that there is no conflict with their role as MP, both in terms of time required and conflict of interest. This includes directorships and advisory posts.

mikera

@mikera - over 6 years ago

90th income percentile is probably more appropriate for highly skilled individuals (which I hope MPs would be!).

Singapore is a good example of a country that pays politicians / civil servants well, and gets excellent outcomes as a result.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

This might be a good place to add a reference - do you know of a link that backs up the Singapore findings?

jimmytidey

@jimmytidey - over 6 years ago

Presumably a relevant factor is whether you continue to have another job as well, as many MPs do. Or positions on boards etc.

mikera

@mikera - over 6 years ago

There probably a few. I found:

"The Dynamics of Legislative Rewards An Empirical Analysis of Commonwealth Countries for the World Bank Institute London School of Economics, 2007/ 2008"

http://siteresources.worldbank.org/PSGLP/Resources/DynamicsLegislativeRewards.pdf?&resourceurlname=DynamicsLegislativeRewards.pdf

Among other things, this showed Singapore having clearly the highest legislative reward as ratio of factry workers salary

mikera

@mikera - over 6 years ago

Quote from the above:

“If Singapore is to continue to have able men in Government, we must at least ensure that after having sacrificed their privacy, leisure and family time such people do not also have to make a too large financial sacrifice”. (Republic of Singapore 1989b: cols 753 60, cited in Hood 2003)

Singapore is the greatest champion of civil service high pay orthodoxy. From the early days of independence President Lee Kwan Yew has been advocating this policy. Public salaries are benchmarked to the private sector and revised on a yearly basis to guarantee the perpetuation of Lee Kwan Yew’s motto. Yet, MPs in Singapore are not the chief beneficiaries of this policy, although their salaries are high in absolute terms, they have a below average relative salary level (as defined in Chapter II). Singapore is also one of the pioneers in linking the salary growth of legislators (in absolute terms) with their performance

mikera

@mikera - over 6 years ago

Actually I just checked the stats and UK MPs are already at about 95th percentile:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/276204/table3-1a.pdf

Perhaps 95 percentile is appropriate?

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

Ah, that's very interesting, and a good reference point. Makes sense to stick it where it is, but link future changes to average income.

I wonder if it should be a multiplier of average, rather than a percentile, as that might mean that keeping inequality low is an incentive as well. BTW, if you want to edit the proposal, you can do so on the files changed tab: https://github.com/openpolitics/manifesto/pull/193/files

@mikera edited manifesto/democracy.md - over 6 years ago

MPs pay and expenses

MPs should be paid a good wage, based on the income profile of the country. It could, for instance, be set at the 75th income percentile, though this is not a final proposal. All MPs would receive this same wage, which would change on an annual basis as the average wage changes.

MPs should be paid a good wage, based on the income profile of the country. In the first instance, we propose that this should be set at 3.0x median wage. All MPs would receive this same wage, which would change on an annual basis as the median wage changes.

Serving MPs should not hold second jobs unless they can show that there is no conflict with their role as MP, both in terms of time required and conflict of interest. This includes directorships and advisory posts.

mikera

@mikera - over 6 years ago

Good idea. In fact median is even better than average I think since it incentivises reduction in inequality more.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

👍 from me then

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

I assume the 3x median wage is around where they are now?

mikera

@mikera - over 6 years ago

@jimmytidey probably needs a separate PR, but I'd say that if an MP has other jobs (i.e. is not full time) then they should reduce their MP salary proportionately.

Also they should be required to declare that they are standing as a part time MP during their campaign. Voters should know what they are getting!

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IncomeintheUnitedKingdom

In 2010, the median wage in the UK for all jobs was £20,801

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

@jimmytidey yes, we already have a section on http://openpolitics.org.uk/manifesto/democracy.html#mps-pay-and-expenses about second jobs - maybe that could be enhanced in a separate PR?

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 6 years ago

I like the link to median wages. But reducing MPs wage if they have a second job simply encourages more career politicians rather than enticing expert GPs or teachers or academics etc from bringing their expertise into Parliament. Rather than 'conflicts of interest' I like MPs keeping up to date with the latest information in their particular field and staying qualified in that trade. Much better than spads parachuted into safe MP seats.

mikera

@mikera - over 6 years ago

@PaulJRobinson - I don't think you can be doing your job fully as an MP if you are earning a second income. Stay up to date with your field for sure (I consider that part of the MP job!) but if an MP is actually working for anyone else other than the British public I would expect an MP to a) declare it and b) take the salary cut from not being a full time MP.

Just IMHO of course. But what we don't want are MPs who are focused on earning money elsewhere and just turn up for expensive dinners and the occasional vote. That isn't representing your constituency properly.

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 6 years ago

Ok. If we don't want MPs having second jobs (read second incomes) that's fine. But we should just say so, and prevent MPs from doing that. I don't like the idea of cutting salaries for those that do. It's either right or wrong to have a second income as an MP, and the rules should either permit/prevent that from happening.

with kind regards, Paul Robinson

about.me/pauljrobinson

On 10 July 2014 11:40, Mike Anderson [email protected] wrote:

@PaulJRobinson https://github.com/PaulJRobinson - I don't think you can be doing your job fully as an MP if you are earning a second income. Stay up to date with your field for sure (I consider that part of the MP job!) but if you are actually working for anyone else I expect you to a) declare it and b) take the salary cut from not being a full time MP

— Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub https://github.com/openpolitics/manifesto/pull/193#issuecomment-48589434 .

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

I would be in favour of preventing MPs having second jobs (I think I've said that before). Let's do that in a different PR though and keep this one on the simpler matter of the wage link.

jimmytidey

@jimmytidey - over 6 years ago

I think the standard argument is that being an MP is rather a weird job, in that it's highly likely you will be sacked after 5 years. Having not practised as, say, an architect for 5 years, even if you've kept up, could easily be fatal to your career.

So if you want people with real jobs to stand in marginal seats, you have to let them carry on at least part time work. If it was up to me I'd leave it up to the MP to work out their balance. If they aren't serving the constituency they won't win the next vote.

Not sure I have a view on whether pay from your second job should be deducted from your MP salary.

Obviously conflicts of interest are another thing.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

I'd rather pay them for a period after being voted out to give them time to get back into work, than have them split their time while they are supposed to be representing their constituents.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

I will make a proposal in another PR shortly so we can take this conversation there and keep this one on-topic for the actual pay rate.

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 6 years ago

Sorry! My fault for getting side-tracked. I'm a 👍 for this as it stands.

mikera

@mikera - over 6 years ago

@jimmytidey I guess I agree... though on the flipside having been an MP is a pretty impressive accomplishment that I think would enhance most professional CVs.

If the concern is "professional people aren't incentivised enough" then maybe MP salary should just be set higher to compensate. Maybe 5x median?

In the grand scheme of things, MP salary is trivial to the nation's finances, but getting the right people and the right behaviour when they are in office is extremely important.

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 6 years ago

👍 but could we add a footnote with the median wage at present, and the MPs salary that would represent to make it easier for people to see what that means in practice?

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

14-day review period complete. Merging.

hiltona

@hiltona - over 6 years ago

My counter proposal is that we will get better MPs if we pay them less. I propose we advocate cutting MPs' salaries to £50,000 and match them to an index of public sector workers. 1. MPs' salaries were historically paid at all and a salary of £400 per year was introduced in 1911, the equivalent in today's money of a £41,090 salary (http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-1633409/Historic-inflation-calculator-value-money-changed-1900.html). The reason for this measure was that politics was the preserve of the wealthy. It was successfully argued that working people would be deterred from standing for office if they lost their livelihood in the process. This is a good principle to start from. 2. According to IPSA in their report proposing a £74,000 salary for MPs. "We found no evidence that the level of pay had a direct impact on candidates putting themselves forward for election to Parliament, or on MPs continuing to serve" http://parliamentarystandards.org.uk/payandpensions/Documents/IPSA%20final%20report.pdf (section 20) 3. There is no competitive recruitment of MPs. The First Past The Post system (which they defend heavily) means there are about 500 safe seats. In those seats you don't in any sense get the "best" candidate, you get the one offered to you my the leading party in that area. There is no logic for salaries being a driver of quality while there is no competition in their appointment. MPs actually require no skills at all in their jobs and a mainstream party's view of "quality" in an MP is that they always vote for the whip.

On the other points mentioned, I'm afraid Singapore is an awful example of democracy with a de facto single party state. Ironically, the salary issue there is more relevant because the party's selection of candidates really is competitive. But quality according to the PM doesn't necessarily translate into value for the population.

hiltona

@hiltona - over 6 years ago

In short, if you reduce the salary, you remove some of the people who just want to be important and make space for more people who just want to do good

Your argument that you can't get good people for low salaries suggests that loads of people in the public sector and in charities are just there because they're not good enough to get a better paid job

Floppy

@Floppy - over 6 years ago

So you'd argue that by lowering the salary, you actively (and intentionally) disincentivise those in society who would get higher-paid jobs elsewhere?

hiltona

@hiltona - over 6 years ago

You would actively disincentivise people for whom the money is an incentive. There are plenty of professionals who would take the pay cut if it's important enough to them. Lawyers and doctors already do so.

Yet many people do much more directly beneficial jobs for others for less money because they are driven by the good they are doing. These are the people being squeezed out of politics by others who want to be important.

Your cash marketability is clearly not a useful measure of how good an MP you are. And it often isn't the case in many jobs - just look at the banking system.

tmtmtmtm

@tmtmtmtm - over 6 years ago

Rather than making MP salary a fixed amount, peg it to their prior salary (not necessarily at 100%; could also be at 90% or 110%, say). This doesn't remove the risk of people using elected office gateway to better things elsewhere, but it should help remove any immediate 'motivated by money' issue, with an interesting side effect of encouraging people to actually get some real world experience, rather than just going directly into politics.