Pigs trough
Pigs in the trough? IPSA proposes 15% pay increase for MPs in House of Commons (Reuters)

There's a hint of Catholic self-flagellation in the outrage at a proposed MP pay rise.

Just like that creepy sect Opus Dei expects mortification of the flesh as a painful reminder of Jesus's suffering, so too the British electorate expects parliament to be a hellish gulag where its starving members are ground into dust with hard work for basic sustenance as a constant reminder of The People's Struggle.

At least, that's how some MPs would have you think.

To be fair to MPs, it's not an easy job. It is also very important.

If we value our representative democracy, shouldn't we express that by making MPs financially comfortable? Shouldn't they set the standard for the rest of us to aspire to, rather than dragging their pay down too?

A survey of MPs by the Hansard Society found that they work an average of 69 hours a week, often on all seven days. If you break down their gross basic pay into an hourly wage, using this average, they get around £18.50. Of course, that does not include any extras from additional responsibilities, expenses or second jobs.

Is this - to use a horrible platitude - fair? Perhaps it isn't when you consider the job within the context of itself, but when you look beyond the green House of Commons benches and into the decaying living standards of modern Britain, things are different.

If the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority goes ahead with the MPs' pay rise it is suggesting - against the opinion of many politicians themselves, and subject to a public consultation - then MPs are looking at a 15% increase in basic pay.

Meanwhile, Britons' basic living costs have soared 45% over a decade. Their wages have gone in the other direction, plunging to similar levels as in 2002. Underemployment - those unable to find enough work - has rocketed by 1 million people since the financial crisis. There are as many as half a million people resorting to food banks just to eat.

To cap it all, public sector workers have had their pay rises capped at 1% a year, a real terms cut when you take sticky inflation into account. Are MPs not public sector workers, too?

IBTimes UK has compiled a list from IPSA and parliament's website on what MPs get as of April 2013 - you can make up your own mind on if this is 'fair'.

Basic pay: £66,396

Then in addition, depending on your responsibilities...

Parliamentary Under Secretary: £23,697

Minister of State: £33,002

Cabinet Minister: £68,827

Prime Minister: £76,762

Chairing Select Committee: £14,728

Sitting on Select Committee: £2,940 - £14,728 (depending on length of service, with top amount paid to those over 5 years)

Government Chief Whip: £68,827

Govt Deputy Chief Whip: £33,002

Govt Whip: £19,239

Assistant Govt Whip: £19,239

Leader of the Opposition: £63,098

Opp Chief Whip: £33,002

Opp Dep Chief Whip: £19,239

Opp Ass Chief Whip: £19,239

Speaker of the House: £75,766

Chairman of Ways and Means: £41,370

First Deputy Chairman: £36,360

Second Deputy Chairman: £36,360

Attorney General: £95,772

Solicitor General: £59,248

Those little extras called expenses...

Annual Accommodation Expenditure Budget for MPs using hotels and renting (London): £20,100

Annual Accommodation Expenditure Budget for MPs using hotels and renting (outside London, based on bandings system): £10,150 - £15,250

For MPs who own their own home - Associated Expenditure: £8,850

MPs with caring responsibilities: £2,425 per dependent

Annual London Area Living Payment (for MPs not claiming accommodation exes): £3,760

London area MPs outside Greater London are able to claim an additional: £1,330

Motor mileage rate for car travel on relevant business: 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles, 25p per mile thereafter

Motor cycle rate: 24p per mile, bicycle mileage

Cycling: 20p per mile

Taxis from late night Commons sittings: £80 cap

Hotels because of late night Commons sittings: £150 cap a night

Annual Staffing Expenditure (London): £144,000

Annual Staffing Expenditure (outside London): £137,200

Annual Office Costs Expenditure (London): £25,350

Annual Office Costs Expenditure (outside London): £22,750

Winding-up Expenditure payable for two months after a person ceases to be an MP: £56,450 for London MPs, £53,350 for non-London MPs

Resettlement Payment for MPs who lose their seat: One month's salary

Start-up Expenditure for new MPs to set up offices: £6,000

Miscellaneous Expenses: IPSA gives no amount, but payments for: "Additional expenses to cover the following circumstances are payable subject to various conditions: Disability assistance; Security assistance; Insurance; Contingency payments; Necessary financial assistance."

Recall of Parliament during recess: £3,750 limit

As for a pension...

MPs join the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF) and can choose how much they contribute.

Employee contribution rates 1/40th accrual for 13.75%, 1/50th accrual for 9.75%, and 1/60th accrual for 7.75% of their salary.

Ticking-timebomb pensions blackhole crisis? What ticking-timebomb pensions blackhole crisis? I'll see you on the golf course, my right honourable friend!

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