Our independent survey of 2000 people revealed that 31% believe that the current MP salary of £77,379 is not enough to encourage high performing individuals to consider a career in politics. In other sectors, salaries are based on the level of responsibility that a role carries and the skills required, but many feel that MP’s salaries do not reflect the importance of the job.
At one end of the scale, the average salary for a FTS 100 Chief Executive currently stands at £5.7 million. Of course, large successful businesses can afford to pay at this level, but even public sector salaries for senior roles exceed those paid to MPs.
The Head of the Metropolitan Police, with a salary of £278,563, earns three and a half times the salary of an MP. Even a quarter of Head Teachers of secondary schools earn over £100,000, so why do we so undervalue our politicians? Many are happy for football clubs to pay players and managers multi-millions each year in order to secure the talent required to ensure that their sports team performs well. However, people view politicians very differently despite the wider impact that politics has on the country as a whole.
So, would paying a more competitive rate encourage more successful individuals from other walks of life to consider a career in politics?
To illustrate this we compared an MP’s salary to those of other equally responsible positions and the contrast was interesting.
Whilst a third of those surveyed agreed that MP’s salaries don’t adequately reflect the responsibilities of the role, 31% actually feel that MPs are already overpaid for the job, raising the question of whether this is a reflection of how people feel about the value of existing MPs or whether they don’t value the role itself.
Younger people are the most supportive of an MP salary increase
Those under 45 are more in favour than older generations of increasing MP salaries, with 39% of 25 to 34 year-olds and 36% of 35 to 44 year-olds in support. By comparison, only 21% of those 55 to 64 would support an increase in the amount that MPs receive.
This difference in opinion may be because the younger generations have more invested in the future of the country and therefore see the value in attracting better politicians.
Also, the fact that those just starting out in their career feel that MPs don’t earn enough is concerning as they may not consider a career in politics, based on the salary compared to the responsibility of the role. High calibre individuals may consider other careers which could result in the country not being served by the best potential candidates.
How do different cities feel towards MP salaries?
Edinburgh is the city with the most support for increasing MPs’ pay, with 43% of those living in or around the city supporting a pay increase for MPs. This is closely followed by people in London with 38% in support.
Those in Belfast are most in favour of cutting MPs’ salaries with 48% agreeing that they should be reduced, followed by Newcastle with 42% also in favour.
Holly Andrews, Managing Director of KIS Finance says "It comes as no surprise that those in London are supportive of increasing MP wages as average salaries in the capital are the highest in the UK, with many earning a similar amount, or more than MPs in jobs where less responsibility is required.
However, it was unexpected to see Edinburgh come out as the city most in favour of an increase given that average salaries in the city are 21% lower than those in London. Could this mean they see more value to investing in the future of politics?"
Does political allegiance affect people's views?
Based on people’s political allegiance, taken from how they voted in the 2016 General Election, Green Party supporters are most in favour of paying MPs more, with 52% supporting an increase in salary. Supporters of the Liberal Democrats are next with 51%.
In stark contrast, only 19% of UKIP supporters are in favour of paying MPs more, compared to a massive 45% who are in favour of cutting their salaries.
In respect of the main political parties, Labour and Conservative supporters are fairly evenly split with 30% of Conservatives and 29% of Labour supporters being in favour of an increase.
Are second jobs the problem?
It’s well known that many MPs have second jobs, or other sources of income beyond their political duties, but is this to the detriment of their work as an MP? We have found that some MPs are spending around one week per month in other roles, with one MP actually occupied for three full working weeks per month in their ‘second’ job.
This certainly suggests that the current MP salary may not be enough to discourage MPs from looking for other sources of income. Having a second job, for anyone, is always going to be a distraction from their main occupation. No matter how many hours per week they spend working, their attention will be spread across too many different priorities.
So, this raises the question of whether MPs being distracted by other jobs is the reason that many of the public are unhappy with their current Members of Parliament.
After gathering the results from our survey, we put the question back out to the public in order to gain their opinion on what changes they would want to see to encourage them to support a salary increase for MPs.
Many confirmed that they would support a salary increase for MPs as the role holds a huge amount of responsibility, however they want to see a ban on second jobs. People feel that MPs are too distracted by their other commitments and they should solely focus on their main occupation in Parliament.
Should MPs be paid by results?
We spoke to Katie Woodland, Psychologist and ex-Political Campaign Manager, who has an interesting opinion on introducing performance related pay for MPs.
"In the past few years the healthcare industry, teachers and civil servants have all undergone performance related pay 'shake-ups'. However, MPs are currently paid their salary whether they perform or not.
Understanding the psychology behind effective motivational strategies is key when restructuring/reorganising pay. Whilst I was acting as a campaign manager I regularly heard about MPs who 'spend their days in the bar'. However, this is not to say all MPs have this poor work ethic.
Most MPs, I believe, would be encouraged to take an active part in their role if it increased their wage. What is most important to this debate is the right for every constituency to decide whether their MP is doing what they were elected for. If not, the constituency should also have the right to remove the MP and hold an independent election. Most MPs would fear losing their infuence much more than a few thousand pounds. This is something that is part of the performance-related pay in other industries, not only do you not see a financial benefit if you are incompetent, you will also ultimately lose your job. At present, MPs have their job for a fixed term whether they do anything or not."
- 2,000 people surveyed through The Leadership Factor.
- Office for National Statistics - annual survey of hours and earnings 2018
- Data.Police.UK - Head of Metropolitan Police salary data
- Companies House - CEO salary data
- CIPD - FTS 100 CEO salary data
- NHS Careers - NHS Consultant salary data
- Glass Door - British Airways pilot salary data
- Department of Education - Head teacher salary data
- Parliament.UK- MP salary data
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Last updated: 08 October 2019 | © KIS Finance 2018 |