MPs pay rise row: How much do politicians earn compared to other jobs and average UK salary?

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  • Boris Johnson
    Boris Johnson
    Prime Minister of the United Kingdom since 2019
  • Keir Starmer
    Keir Starmer
    British politician
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak giving a statement to MPs in the House of Commons on economic measures for the second national lockdown in England. (Photo by House of Commons/PA Images via Getty Images)
A controversial pay rise has been recommended for MPs. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Boris Johnson has waded into the row over a recommended pay rise for MPs.

On Monday, the prime minister said through his official spokesman that he did not believe a salary increase for members of parliament was right in the “current circumstances”.

Last month, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) – which sets MPs’ salaries – recommended an increase of £3,300 from next April.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has also said MPs shouldn’t receive the pay rise, suggesting it go to key workers instead.

Watch: Sir Keir Starmer says MPs shouldn’t get pay rise

Here is everything you need to know about MPs’ salaries:

How much is an MP’s salary?

MPs currently have a salary of £81,932. This was an increase from £79,468 in 2019 and £77,379 in 2018.

What pay rise is recommended?

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) has recommended a pay rise for MPs of £3,300, taking salaries above £85,000.

What extra salary is available to MPs for chairing a select committee?

MPs who chair select committees are entitled to an additional salary.

In April 2020, this was set at £16,422.

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer responds to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's statement to the House of Commons in London, in which he set out plans for a new three-tier system of controls for coronavirus, which will come into place once lockdown ends in England.
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer says the proposed pay rise for MPs should instead go to key workers. (PA)

What about government ministers?

Government ministers are also entitled to an additional salary on top of their pay as an MP.

The chancellor (Rishi Sunak), the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Michael Gove) and secretaries of state are each entitled to an extra £71,673, although the claimed salary for those roles this year is lower, at £67,505.

How much does the prime minister earn?

Prime minister Boris Johnson is entitled to an extra £79,936, although only £75,440 has been claimed this year.

Will MPs receive a pay rise next year?

The government has been facing a growing clamour to block the rise after it emerged last week that chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to announce a pay cap for millions of public sector workers.

What does Boris Johnson think?

Asked whether the prime minister was happy for the rise to go ahead, his spokesman said: “MPs’ salaries are obviously decided by an independent body, but given the circumstances the PM doesn’t believe MPs should be receiving a pay rise.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London.
Prime minister Boris Johnson says he is against a pay rise for MPs. (PA)

Johnson had previously announced that ministers would not be getting an increase in their ministerial salaries – which he sets – a sum paid on top of their wages as MPs.

What is the average salary in the UK?

The average weekly wage in the UK is £586, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This means the average salary is £30,472 per year.

What is the average salary in other jobs?

The average annual full-time gross pay by profession, as of April 2020, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS):

Airline pilots - £92,330

Chief executives - £85,239

Marketing and sales directors - £80,759

Pharmacists - £43,723

Barristers and judges - £41,874

Police officers (sergeant and below) - £41,701

Journalists - £40,396

Midwives - £38,736

Social workers - £36,306

Nurses - £33,920

Graphic designers - £29,391

Farmers - £28,126

Bricklayers - £27,995

Teachers - £26,489

Ambulance staff - £25,652

Chefs - £22,670

Street cleaners - £20,274

Care workers - £19,959

Bar staff - £18,911

Receptionists - £18,596

Hairdressers - £17,223

Playworkers - £15,394

What has Ipsa said?

In its report last month, Ipsa recommended MPs’ pay should continue to be linked to the growth in public sector pay, using the figures for October as a benchmark.

That would suggest an increase of about 4% – to be paid from next April – which would take MPs salaries to more than £85,000.

Ipsa is due to announce its final decision next month.

Watch: The Spending Review - what you need to know

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