Thursday, January 31, 2008

No Wonder MPs Feel Underpaid

Town Hall lift-off

As we know, Britain's MPs are grossly underpaid.

Just a month ago we spared a seasonal thought for Mr Punch, forced to survive on a pittance- a basic salary of £60,675 pa, annual expenses of £118,952, and an index-linked final salary pension paying just two-thirds pension after 26 years membership... why, you wouldn't treat a dog like that.

And now we hear of Hon Members forced to employ their own families simply to make ends meet. It's a national disgrace!

Today we get a fresh insight into just why MPs feel so hard-done-by.

The ever dependable TaxPayers' Alliance has published its latest paper on Council Spending Uncovered. This time it's on Middle Management Pay, looking at the huge growth of town hall managers now getting more than £50 grand pa. They find:

  • The average local authority is employing over nine times as many people on £50,000-plus packages as ten years ago – 66 people in 2006-07 compared with 20 people in 2001-02 and 7 people in 1996-97
  • By contrast, in the economy as a whole, the number of people earning more than £50,000 has increased by less than three times over the past ten years.

The TPA specially highlights the plight of MPs:

  • The remuneration of local authority middle and senior management is racing past that of MPs. There were 12,600 local authority middle and senior managers being paid at least £60,000 last year – equal to or exceeding the £60,277 salary of MPs in November 2006

Can you imagine? Many many of our MPs, especially Labour, are ex-council bureaucrats. Ten years ago, just like Mr Punch, they left behind their perfectly safe jobs for the promise of a better, glitzier, more lucrative life at Westminster. And now they find that those who stepped into their old town hall shoes are being better paid!

Ah, the pain of regret! Ah, the pain of squeezed differentials!

For as we all surely understand, one of the most powerful human emotions is envy: that, and coveting the neighbour's ox. Just imagine how much more powerful if you once held the council sinecure now paying £90 grand pa, with similarly splendid pension arrangements, and without the certainty of being unemployed in April 2010.

PS Well, yes, you can argue these LA employees are simply catching up with the private sector. But there's no denying the fact that they've done very well over the last few years. And certainly better than MPs.