MPs: not paid enough?

August 15, 2012, 9:12 AM GMT+0

60% Brits say MPs in Britain are paid too much; 28% say right amount, as wage debate continues

The majority of the British public feel that MPs in this country are already paid too much, compared to just one in twenty who think MPs are paid too little, amid continuing discussion in light of the recent suggestion made by former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell that British Members of Parliament should be paid more for the work they do.

  • 60% of Britons think Members of Parliament get paid too much
  • 28% think they are paid about the right amount
  • 5% think Members of Parliament are paid too little

A fair wage?

Campbell’s suggestion comes at a time when the Government is cutting spending heavily and has frozen pay for public sector workers, while the current average salary of a British MP is reportedly £65,738 plus expenses for travel, staff and accommodation. General Secretary of Unison Dave Prentis has said that "everyone should get a fair wage for the job that they do, even MPs. But if they get a pay rise, it would only be fair for public sector workers to get one too."

Though the BBC’s Michael Blastland has calculated that the average British MP's household wage sits above about 96% of the population, many still feel that when compared to other nations, British MPs are not considered well paid at all.

Britain compared to elsewhere

When we asked respondents to gauge how much British MPs are paid, however, almost one third of the public believes that British MPs get paid more than most of their foreign counterparts, while around one in seven believe they are paid less.

  • 31% think British MPs get paid more than MPs in most other countries, while 13% think British MPs get paid less
  • 12% think British MPs get paid about the same amount as in most other countries
  • 45% don't know whether the pay of British MPs is more or less than other countries

In fact, magazine The Week recently suggested that the average salary of a British MP is 'peanuts' compared to a US congressman (around £105, 000) and to the average pay of a Japanese MP, who can receive the equivalent in Yen of up to £215,000.

The Financial Times Westminster Blog has also considered the issue, looking into how much other countries pay their MPs in comparison to the UK, including Australia, France and New Zealand ‒ and in particular Spain, where MPs are paid only around half as much as they are in Britain.

See the survey details and full results here