Thursday, 13 August 2009

MPs pay and expenses

Alan Duncan's remarks about MPs pay and expenses have apparently not pleased Dave Cameron and the Daily Mail has already commented that MPs still do not 'get it'.

Duncan has apologised, but does he have a point? 64k a year is a lot for a person on the average wage, or even more so someone out of work. But it is way behind most professional and managerial salaries.

Consider dentists, for example. I have to have a crown done and it is costing me £640. It is difficult to believe that the dentist is impoverished. Indeed, apparently even 400 NHS dentists are earning more than £300,000 a year and have an average salary of £89,000 and private dentists surely earn a lot more (indeed I know this as I once had responsibility for approving a postgraduate programme in cosmetic dentistry). As someone said to me 'Dentists: pain in the mouth, pain in the wallet.'

Now it is true that there are still plenty of people who want to become MPs and many of them are making considerable personal sacrifices in the process (I have one particular example in mind). Whether they are power crazed or have a real sense of public duty is a matter for debate. My view is that most of them do at least start out wanting to make things better.

It is an awful job, particularly given the demands that constituents make these days where the MP is supposed to function as a portmanteau social worker, albeit that does keep him/her in touch with the problems constituents face in their everyday lives. It is difficult to see how it is compatible with raising a family - unless you base yourself in London.

No comments: