Saturday, 10 January 2009

MEPs new pay deal

This is something I find really quite disturbing:

Britain's army of Euro MPs are to see their pay soar by almost £20,000 under reforms intended to end the Brussels gravy train.

A deal due to take effect this year will see MEPs' salaries increase by around a third to £82,000, making them higher paid than Westminster MPs.

No, not really that bit. If people are going to take currency risks with their pay then there will be times when the rates move in their favour....and times when they move against them. Rather, it's these two bits.

Currently the 78 British MEPs are paid £63,291, the same as MPs. But from July they will be paid in euros which represents a bumper pay rise given the current strength of the European currency against sterling.

The wage hike at a time when thousands of jobs are being lost has outraged critics, who accuse MEPs of being out of touch with the grim economic reality faced by millions.

Under the deal, members of the European Parliament are also exempt from British tax and National Insurance and instead are charged a lower special EU tax of between 15 per cent and 17 per cent.

It isn't just that they will be paid in euros. It's that they will be paid by the European Parliament, not the Home Office. That's right, no longer will our representatives be paid by us. The second is that special tax rate. This will be the first time ever that our constituency representatives will face a different tax rate from constituents.

That, to me at least, is a very dangerous innovation, it's the beginning of the creation of a special privileged class.

Yes, OK, the Treasury says that it will introduce a new special tax rate to make up for this but again, that's the creation of a new special system, another set of privileges.

There's a much simpler solution. The Government can simply say that all MEPs will continue to be paid by the taxpayer, by the Home Office, and not the European Parliament. This power exists under the current regulations. And after all, the MEPs are our representatives to the Parliament, aren't they, they're not the Parliament's representatives to us. And if they're paid by the Home Office, as now, then they'll face the same tax system as us, as now.

And as Nigel says:

MEP Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, said: 'I think MEPs should be paid the same as MPs.

'Given the current exchange rate, it is an outrage that MEPs face a massive pay increase. Voters will be very angry about this.'

And there are two ways to get a pay rise of course....get more money, or pay less of it in tax.

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