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Friend of Tortoise Exclusive

Is £81k a year enough to be an MP?

Is £81k a year enough to be an MP?

This event is exclusive to Friends of Tortoise

This is a digital-only ThinkIn.

With the UK average salary at £31k, surely MPs are living very comfortably on £81k a year? If that’s the case, why do so many have a second job? Singaporean MPs are the highest paid in the world, taking home more than £330k plus bonuses. Ministerial pay is benchmarked against the top 1,000 Singaporean income earners, and they’re eligible for bonuses. The  idea is that good salaries will attract the highest quality candidates. Australian backbenchers take home more than £120k, and Canadians get just over £100k. 

Compared to those sums, the UK MP salary seems a bit stingy. Living on £81k is far from the breadline, but other countries seem to value political service more than we do. Should we be surprised that many MPs feel they need a second income? How much does it really cost to be an MP, how much of this is about social class – and if we really want the best people for the job, how much are we prepared to pay?

editor and invited experts

Matt d’Ancona
Editor and Partner

Dr Nicholas Dickinson
Bingham Early Career Fellow in Constitutional Studies

Hannah White
Deputy Director, Institute of Government

Richard Burgon
MP Leeds East

Tom Brake
Director, Unlock Democracy and former MP (1997-2019, LibDem)