Fundraising pages have been launched for food bank charities in honor of a high-ranking Tory MP after he defended politicians’ description of the £ 81,000 salary as “really grim”.
Sir Peter Bottomley, also known as “Father of the House” as the Member of the House of Commons with the longest continuous service, suggested on Wednesday that the base salary of parliamentarians should be increased.
His comments came on the day the the government cut the £ 20 universal credit increase for the most vulnerable people in the country.
Sir Peter has suggested that MPs, who are paid £ 81,932 a year, should receive the same amount as GPs with an average salary of £ 100,000.
The current salary an MP receives is over £ 50,000 higher than the UK average salary of £ 31,461 in 2020.
MPs’ salaries are set by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) and MPs can also claim expenses to cover the costs of running an office, hiring staff, living in London or in their constituency and travel between Parliament and their constituency.
In the interview published on Wednesday by The New Statesman, the Tory MP for Worthing West in West Sussex said: “I think being an MP is the greatest honor you can have, but a GP in politics has to be paid. pretty much the same as a general practitioner.
“Doctors are paid far too little these days. But if they were getting around £ 100,000 a year, the equivalent for an MP to have the same standard of living would be £ 110,000 to £ 115,000 a year – it’s never a good time, but if your MP is not worth the money, better to change the MP than to change the money. “
Sir Peter said the situation was “hopelessly difficult” for his new MPs, adding: “I don’t know how they are doing. It is really grim.”
The remarks sparked outrage, not least because of their timing on the same day as the government cut a temporary increase in benefits for the poorest in society.
Some people on social media have jokingly suggested that individuals should ‘contribute’ to help ‘poor’ Sir Peter.
And within 24 hours of posting his comments, a JustGiving fundraising page was created titled “Please Help Feed Distressed Sir Peter Bottomley!” »- with all donations going to charity food bank The Trussell Trust.
The page reads: “In light of Sir Peter Bottomley who made the brutal revelation yesterday that he finds it incredibly difficult to live with his MP salary of £ 82,000 a year, I have decided to try to fundraising so that he and others who are so badly in need of financial support to feed themselves and their families do not go hungry.
“Honestly, my heart bled for him when I heard about his struggles and those of his colleagues, the same day they implemented a £ 20 universal credit cut, affecting hundreds of thousands of families across the UK.
“I am sure that with the difficulties these MPs are experiencing themselves, they must rely heavily on The Trussell Trust and other charities that provide similar services to those facing difficulties.”
Meanwhile, a separate GoFundMe page titled ‘Supporting struggling curators’ is also raising £ 20,000 for food banks.
The target sum is the difference between the salary of an MP and the average annual salary of a generalist.
On the page, its creator Simon Harris writes: ‘Personally I think the funding for the £ 20 universal credit increase should be immediately redirected to MPs like Sir Peter who are clearly in dire straits, and I will introduce him to even a giant novelty check when we hit the total.
“The fact that some of these people may be forced to move from Waitrose to Sainsbury’s has put a strain on me – it’s time to step in and help those who really need it.
“Or I’m just going to give the money to the food banks because that’s where a lot of these working universal credit seekers are going to end up, and I don’t have the level of empathy of a mushy gas station. “
Justifying his comments on Thursday, Sir Peter told LBC he did not know when the interview would be released but was sticking to what he had previously said.
The Conservative MP said those who include “a good teacher, a good social worker or a good union leader” would be “significantly worse” if they enter politics.
He said that raising the salaries of parliamentarians “would therefore attract good people into the competition arena, not just those who are willing to do it for nothing, not just those who can afford to do it for nothing, but those who are willing to do it for nothing. people in between ”.
Sir Peter added that there should be no pay increase now as the sum is never expected to change “between elections”, but suggested that politicians’ salaries should be increased in the next general election.
He said on the radio that a salary increase could be achieved by reducing the number of MPs by 10%.