Thursday, November 8, 2012
Following the revelation that more than a quarter of MPs nationally do not pay all their staff the “living wage”, Romford MP Andrew Rosindell has admitted to not knowing what the rate actually is.
But when the Recorder explained it, Tory Mr Rosindell said he was sure all his staff members were paid more than the £8.55 an hour London recommendation, which equates to about £16,800 per year for a full-time worker.
The living wage, which was increased earlier this week, is a voluntary alternative to the national minimum wage, by which employers ensure all their staff work for a salary that reflects the calculated cost of living.
The living wage is currently about £1.30 higher than the national minimum wage – now standing at £8.55 per hour within London, and £7.45 per hour elsewhere in the country.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who supports the living wage, recently clashed with Downing Street over the scheme, which David Cameron said could violate European law.
But Mr Rosindell this week said it was “up to MPs what they pay their staff”.
“I have a limited budget so I pay what I can afford and they’re all happy to work for that – none of them are particularly destitute,” he said.
“Every MP’s staff member works differently. You’ve got to judge what’s appropriate.”
By contrast, Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas said he was a “very strong supporter” of the living wage.
“People’s living standards are falling,” the Labour MP told the Recorder. “People should be paid a decent hourly rate and not rely on the state topping them up.”
Mr Cruddas, whose party is vocal in its support for the scheme, said all his staff were paid the higher hourly rate.
Hornchurch and Upminster MP Angela Watkinson (Conservative) declined to comment on what her staff were paid, saying it would invade workers’ privacy to discuss their salaries.
Commons watchdog the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) this week revealed that 181 of the UK’s 650 MPs do not pay all their staff the living wage, but did not say which MPs or parties were involved.