Your view: How much is an MP worth?

12/12/13

Students
Image caption Anthony, Nathan, Chris and Rachel (l-r)

At a college in Sunderland, four teenagers are arguing over a set of cards.

Newsbeat asked Anthony, Nathan, Rachel and Chris to put 10 jobs in order, based on how much they think those doing them should be paid.

The 17-year-olds decided Premier League footballers are overpaid, and there's a row over whether it's harder to be a head teacher or a top police officer.

They're agreed though that MPs should be close to the top of the list.

"But that doesn't mean he should get millions," said Chris.

Students
Image caption Anthony, Nathan, Chris and Rachel (l-r) discussed how much MPs should be paid

On Thursday, an independent body is expected to announce that from 2015 MPs should be paid £74,000 a year, a rise of £7,500.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) was put in charge of politicians' pay following the expenses scandal.

"It's a misconception that MPs are in it for themselves. A lot of them aren't", says Anthony, who's considering a career in politics.

"They do a lot of out-of-work hours and they don't get overtime."

They do a very important job so if they're offered a rise, they should be able to say yes
Rachel
Student

All three main party leaders in Westminster disagree with the rise and have urged IPSA not to go ahead with it.

For the four students, who'll be voting for the first time in 2015, an 11% pay rise is too much.

"They're already on a higher wage so the amount they're going to gain is a lot more than other jobs," says Nathan.

He's hoping to join the RAF as a pilot.

Rachel
Image caption Rachel thinks MPs should be able to take a pay rise if they are offered one

"Armed forces budgets are being cut while people who have a less risky job will be getting an increase for essentially doing nothing more.

"It's better to have an independent person (setting pay levels) rather than MPs deciding for themselves, but MPs are living fine at the moment. They're not going to be homeless any time soon."

Chris accepts MPs are in a difficult position.

"If they said, 'Yeah we'll have this pay rise' no-one would ever vote for them again."

But Rachel says they shouldn't be afraid to accept a higher wage.

"They do a very important job so if they're offered a rise, they should be able to say, 'Yes, I do a good job and I deserve this.'"

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