Hands up who thinks MPs should get a pay increase? Anyone? A recent survey found that the least respected careers in the UK were estate agents, tabloid journalists and politicians. Considering the justifiable outcry this week over the proposed 11% pay increase for MPs it is hardly surprising. The Shuttles own poll shows 92% opposing the increase. Whilst a healthy scepticism is good in a democracy this kind of insensitive move, with the expenses scandal still fresh in voters’ minds, will lead to total cynicism towards those elected to serve us.
Mark Garnier (Wyre Forest MP responds to possible 11% pay rise, Thursday 12th December 2013) seems to be trying to have it both ways. He rightly criticises the proposal as ‘awful’ but then shows a characteristic evasiveness about whether he would accept the money. Actually, that is understating the matter. His words show a man positively squirming in his justification for Members of Parliament to get 11% whilst the rest of us have to do with nothing. ‘All in it together’ (as the millionaire members of Cameron’s cabinet claim)? I don’t think so Mr Garnier.
Whenever this issue is debated an MP (usually a Tory one and Mark has helpfully confirmed this) will say that unless MPs get a whacking pay hike we won’t attract the ‘right’ people. I always find this argument completely ludicrous. Mark Garnier currently earns more than £66,000 (plus all the other stuff that he claims on top of that) which is double what the average household in Wyre Forest gets. Is he really saying that unless he gets a suitable pay increase he will be leaving his job for something better paid? Whilst many people I speak to in Wyre Forest would be happy to see the back of him it hardly fits in with his professed commitment to public service. What if doctor, nurses and teachers had the same attitude?
A simply question for Mark. Will he or will he not accept the 11% pay increase? If I am elected as MP for Wyre Forest in 2015 I will only accept the (already generous) 2013 wage. Furthermore, I will accept not one penny from outside interests or second jobs. Will Mark Garnier do the same?
Matt Lamb Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Wyre Forest
Kidderminster Shuttle:Wyre Forest MP responds to possible 11pc pay rise