Meg T on 23 November 2021
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Q. What do you think of MPs telling us they need second jobs to get by on £82k a year?
It's a very interesting question. I have never been in a situation where my household income was ever as high as that, certainly not as a disabled lone parent with a young person with additional needs & definitely not when I was a married homeowner. And we had to manage. I do realise that not all MPs have a second job. In principle, I have no objections to anyone, including MPs having a second job if they feel the need & wish to. After all, that second job may include maintaining your clinical practice requirements to maintain your registrations, such as if you are a medical Dr. or a Nurse, which is essential, as some MP's are. An MP may e.g. want to write a book in their spare time, if they have any, which is totally fine. As long as they are taxed accordingly for their extra income in line with those those in receipt of Universal Credit are if we exceed the proscribed limits (currently taxed, because that is effectively what it is, at 55 pence in the pound for every pound earned over the limit) then I have no objections whatsoever. What I object to is if having a second job takes them away from their main occupation as an MP which is to serve their constituents first & foremost. £82 K is a massive amount of money to ordinary folks, who have to survive on much less generous salaries or as in my case, legacy benefits & we are still expected to manage, childcare & all. Of the 14 million plus folk dragged into poverty; 4 million of them are already in paid employment & still reliant on social security. That is simply not right. MP's have lots of time away from Parliament too in terms of recess & some also receive great perks that comes with being in office as evident in recent scandals. There is no holiday or respite from poverty. Not only that, they have the means to get back on their feet more quickly, should things go pear-shaped, than the majority of ordinary folk. What is most galling are the stereotypical & archaic attitudes of some Tory politicians towards ordinary working class folk. In particular, Tory MP Andrew Rosindell on £20 uplift to UC stated that: "I think there are people that quite like getting the extra £20 but maybe they don’t need it." back when the Government were discussing withdrawing the £20 uplift, then in the next breath states, re the banning of 2nd jobs for MP's “We have to realise we're dealing with human beings who have families & responsibilities”. In one fell swoop - the hypocrisy & crassness is evident. So it's ok for him & his colleagues to have a second job, but we the ordinary people are penalised trying to make ends meet. His language from a discursive analytical view is also very telling - he talks of his colleagues being "human beings \[with\] families & responsibilities" inadvertently revealing that he doesn't see those people living in poverty the same way, thus perpetuating the narrative of striver versus skiver, worthy versus unworthy rhetoric that we in poverty are continuously tarred with. £82K is a huge amount of money. I for one would be able to buy a house, having fallen off the property ladder back in 2004 & cut my cloth a little more generously for a change & still have some left over to invest for mine & my families future - something unattainable at the moment. It would provide me & my family with an unprecedented level of security which we simply don't have being reliant on benefits. The MP's that are grumbling should thank their lucky stars they are in such a privileged position.
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