Workers around the country have reacted with astonishment and anger at the decision of the Parliamentary Standards Authority (PSA) to press ahead with the recommendation to give Westminster MPs a huge 11% pay rise in 2014 – about £7,600 a year extra. Felix Lighter reports on yet another example of hypocrisy by MPs, who talk about the need for austerity, whilst happily taking a pay increase for themselves.
Workers around the country have reacted with astonishment and anger at the decision of the Parliamentary Standards Authority (PSA) to press ahead with the recommendation to give Westminster MPs a huge 11% pay rise in 2014 – about £7,600 a year extra.
The PSA – an “independent” body – has been backed by a number of MPs from all parties. They see nothing wrong with, on the one hand, getting up day after day to demand that public sector workers have their pay held back, yet on the other hand, cry out for extra pay for themselves. These double standards reflect the real way they see the world. Like the bosses in the City of London and in the boardrooms of the big monopolies, they believe that “austerity” is for the poor not for them.
Naturally, this lust for cash – coming not long after the MPs expenses scandals – has embarrassed the government which, being full of millionaires, can afford to let the £7,600 slip by. However, as socialists we should have no problem with an 11% pay rise… providing it is given to all workers! What is good for them should be good for all of us.
Of course, the PSA is not independent at all. Filled with the great and the good, all on fat retainers, its real role has been to try and remove the sticky problem of MPs voting their own pay rises each year – if only workers had the same right!
The Labour leadership has also raised concerns about the proposed increase in MPs pay. If they are that concerned then they should also be demanding that all workers get a similar fair deal. After all, should not low paid public sector workers, who have seen their pay and conditions eroded year after year, also be compensated in this fashion?
If Labour is really interested in restoring peoples’ faith in their elected representatives then a far better way would be for all Labour MPs to refuse to take any more in pay than that earned by an average skilled worker, donating the rest to the labour movement. How can someone taking home £74,000, plus huge expenses, really understand what it is like to get by on just a workers pay packet? Clearly many of them do not.
Such a stand would show solidarity with the people who voted for them and give our MPs a real stake in raising the average pay of all workers. Any Labour MP who does not like this should quit and let real workers take their place, prepared to fight for a better deal for our class. Sadly some Labour MPs seem to believe that politics is best left to the Oxbridge elite, attracted by nice fat salaries, who can be trusted to see things the “right” way. Hence the anger over attempts by unions such as Unite to rectify this imbalance against working class people getting into parliament.