After long and acrimonious debate, members of the British House of Commons have voted themselves onto a moving staircase that will ensure salary raises for the next five years. But even with this increase, their salaries won't even come close to making them rich, reports Monitor contributor Alexander MacLeod.
The first yearly increase will give House of Commons members a total salary of only $23,000. By 1987, they will be earning $28,800. By comparison, members of the French National Assembly today earn $40,500, and their Canadian and Australian counterparts earn $33,000 and $31,500 (US currency), respectively.
Low salaries bear particularly hard on many in the Labour Party, who, unlike many of their Conservative Party counterparts, seldom enjoy income from other sources. Some Conservatives have built up substantial incomes in business and the professions before entering Parliament. Labour Party members are more likely to be of working-class background, with little or no secondary income.