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Pay cuts loom for MPs with second jobs

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: October 15, 2012

Andrew George

Andrew George

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Westcountry MPs could soon face a hit in the pocket as a pay and pensions review by the parliamentary watchdog gets under way today.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) is reportedly ready to issue a consultation on a range of options over how much politicians should be paid and whether gold-plated pension deals should be curbed. Politicians who have second jobs and full-time colleagues could see salaries reduced.

Andrew George, Liberal Democrat for St Ives, West Cornwall said "bad press" had helped to cast doubt in the public mind on how much MPs were paid.

He said: "I work an 80–85 hour week as an MP and simply don't know where colleagues with second jobs find the time.

"I'm not exceptional in the number of hours I work – that's pretty normal for full-on MPs. I don't know whether those with second jobs cut corners or use their wealth to pay staff to undertake their work.

"I think parliamentarians are pretty much under the cosh with bad press and the public think we should do it for free. We will simply have to abide by what Ipsa decide – they seem to take more notice of the public and press than they do of us." One of the highest outside earners in the Westcountry is Geoffrey Cox, Tory MP for Torridge and West Devon, who declares more than £190,000 as a lawyer. Mr Cox could not be contacted last night for comment on the proposal that his MP salary could be cut.

MPs earn a basic salary of £65,738 a year. In addition, they can claim allowances to cover the cost of running an office and employing staff as well as maintaining a constituency residence and, in some cases, London accommodation.

Some MPs argue they deserve a pay rise but Sir Ian Kennedy, Ipsa chairman warned they were doing too little to show voters what they were doing to justify their taxpayer-funded remuneration packages.

In an interview with the Sunday Times he indicated a need to scale the present £13.6 million-a-year pension scheme which was "expensive to the taxpayer and out of kilter with the modern idea of where public sector pensions should be".

That could mean the end of a final-salary system that allows MPs to build up a £30,000 pension after 20 years and raising the age at which it can be claimed beyond 65.

Ipsa's research suggests that MPs pay is low in comparison with other developed countries' legislators.

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  • 1newlyn  |  October 17 2012, 6:38AM

    mmmmm interesting , pleading poverty while a vast majority of people in Cornwall have no viable work .All above are right they need to come down to earth and stop saying that they understand because they clearly do not !

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  • eu_blues  |  October 16 2012, 9:26PM

    "The reasons why people become Politicians or go into local county council is because you are never accountable for your mistakes, and when you do make a big mistake you are just shuffled to another department. Truro_England The reasons why selected people become political puppets or go into local county council is because you are never, ever, accountable to the voters, because your bought and sold by those who control the UK, banking families and the ruling class. There's never mistakes, just an agenda. Most MP's enjoy a good retirement on the back of the taxpayer. It's a win, win situation all round.

  • Truro_England  |  October 16 2012, 12:43PM

    The reasons why people become Politicians or go into local county council is because you are never accountable for your mistakes, and when you do make a big mistake you are just shuffled to another department. Think of all the different MP's who get shuffled to a diffeferent department like transport, crime, work etc etc if they made these mistakes in a private sector job they would be out and struggle to get another job of the same type.

    |   3
  • josdave  |  October 16 2012, 8:20AM

    MPs should not have a second job if, as they claim, their job at Westminster is so important and well paid. No other job I have ever seen has such a generous expenses system whereby they get more in expenses than most people get for their job. Make them earn their money.

    |   6
  • Niall_Curry  |  October 15 2012, 4:48PM

    Totally agree, SJ101. I also think if they want to be "Minister for x" they also have to have done at least five years of work in the area that office has responsibility for (e.g. an Education Minister who has worked in education so that they actually have some understanding of how it works).

    |   4
  • happygutz  |  October 15 2012, 3:45PM

    lets start a collection for this poor wretch...

    |   4
  • SJ101  |  October 15 2012, 3:01PM

    10 years of working in the real world first Nick

    |   6
  • nick113  |  October 15 2012, 2:14PM

    The real problem is that most MP's would be incapable of getting a proper job in the private sector except via their political connections. I would make it mandatory that they could serve as MPs for 10 years max as a back-bencher, after which they had to spend at least 5 years out in the real world - not on the government payroll.

    |   7
  • RNASDutch  |  October 15 2012, 11:59AM

    This is the same Andrew George who was forced into repaying £4438.25 in expenses where he "forget" he had claimed mortage interest twice on a London flat in which his daughter lived, and expenses wrongly claimed for hotel and food costs. See West Briton February 11th 2010. He also had the absolute cheek to claim £10 for a hair dryer, his excuse being he needed it because he had a hair condition. Dandruff. Fortunately the expenses people rejected his claim. In every other job I can think of, including mine, I have to pay my own mortage interest, my own hotel costs and my own food costs. He also signed the Lib Dems pledge not to charge tuition fees. Did he resign on principle when they were voted through on Lib Dems support. No, he was too busy claiming all his expenses. I totally agree with poldice: "Perhaps a good starting point would be to remove these perks and put MP's in the same tax position as everyone else. If the poor souls cannot exist on their pay as MP's it should be remembered that no one forces them to stand for election." Please lead by example Mr Andrew George MP and resign, and allow someone to do the job who actually does not have their nose in the trough.

    |   4
  • poldice  |  October 15 2012, 11:07AM

    MP's really have brought this on themselves even though many are decent hard working people as individuals they have all been sucked in the sleaze and scandals which have seem some of them jailed for dishonesty. If the pay and conditions are that bad why do so many attempt to become prospective Parliamentary candidates whenever a vacancy occurs? Always remembering that MP's still enjoy a number of tax free perks such as cheap alcohol, food and 1st class travel that legislation they have sanctioned denies to their constituents. Perhaps a good starting point would be to remove these perks and put MP's in the same tax position as everyone else, as well as not taking any other jobs on while an MP. If the poor souls cannot exist on their pay as MP's it should be remembered that no one forces them to stand for election.

    |   10

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