Friday 12 July 2013

Letter 109: MPs salaries, even without a rise are an embarrassment of riches.

"Dear Dave, 
Ever shopped in Iceland? Aldi? Scoured the supermarket's reduced aisle, not because it's fun to nab a bargain, but because you were down to your last quid, days before the next paycheque? Or have you visited a food bank because Sam had to forgo breakfast, dinner or supper (or even all three) so that your children had enough to eat? No... that would be silly, your wife earns a very good income as do you. 

I can see IPSA's suggestion that MPs salaries should increase by 11% is more than a little embarrassingespecially when you realise that in the three months since your Government's welfare changes took place the number of people being fed by foodbanks has increased by 200%. Are subsidised forks ever put down in Westminster long enough to consider that there may come a time when people will have had enough of the inequality? In just one foodbank, (Sparkhill, Birmingham), ONE TON of food is required by the desperate PER week, some of whom are working people, referred for food parcels because their wages cannot meet family need. Not surprising, with food costs up 27%, gas/electricity up 15% and wages rising at only 1%. Maybe in George's spirit of  "all being in this together", MPs would like to share their £5.7m taxpayer bankrolled "hardship fund" with some of these families?
What to do though and which to tackle first? PR, posturing, or public concern? I have watched with wry amusement as MPs, yourself included, speak of personal discomfort accepting an 11% pay increase in such hard economic times. But you miss the point, made most ably in this article:
which I suggest you read, despite how much it may make you squirm.Why not print it off and nail it to one of Westminster's many subsidised dining rooms walls for the hell of it? Then MPs can see what voters know. Your pay does not need to be increased, and noble suggestions to manage within the current system ring very hollow. Most people rightly feel that the gravy currently flowing freely on the Parliamentary train should be most definitely rationed, rather than rationalised as IPSA suggests. MP's salaries, even without a rise, are an embarrassment of riches, especially as foodbanks mushroom on your watch in a way even Labour can't take credit for. 
Yours, etc" 

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