How much is an MP paid in the UK?

Hundreds of MPs, old and new, will be elected to Parliament after the 4 July general election. Here is how much they could earn.

The Houses of Parliament
How much is an MP paid?
(Image credit: Getty Images)

General election candidates are being finalised as the nation prepares to head to the polls.

High profile politicians such as Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove and Labour’s Harriet Harman are stepping down, but there will be plenty of old and new candidates vying for the 650 seats in the House of Commons.

Political parties are slowly revealing policies when it comes to financial issues such as tax and pensions but what about the actual people seeking your vote at the ballot box?

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Whoever gets voted in after the general election on 4 July may get plenty of perks such as access to reduced bars and restaurants in parliament.

But they will also face regular public scrutiny and need to pay to run their own office and staff, as well as London living costs so they can take part in debates. We reveal how much MPs get paid.

How much is an MP paid?

Parliamentary salaries are set by The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).

The basic annual salary for an MP from 1 April 2024 is £91,346. This figure rose 5.5% annually, which has proved controversial when you consider that inflation is now at 2.3% and the average UK salary is around £35,000.

MPs can also get expenses to cover the costs of running an office and employing staff as well as having somewhere to live in London or their constituency and travelling to and from Parliament.

Politicians can earn more if they get senior roles. For example, if Rishi Sunak remains as Prime Minister or Labour's Keir Starmer enters number 10, they can take an extra salary of £75,440 on top of their basic pay.

If an MP gets a Secretary of State post, they could earn £67,505 on top of the basic salary, while ministers get £31,680 extra. MPs who miss out on cabinet jobs or opposition politicians could also earn more if they chair a parliamentary committee. This boosts their salary by £18,309.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, questions the fairness of the pay levels. “Hardworking Brits will find it difficult to look favourably on MP’s wages,” he says.

“The stark reality is that while MPs have recently received an inflation busting pay rise, struggling households have grappled with frozen thresholds and relentless price rises. Pay should reflect performance. The best way to achieve this is by linking MPs' pay to the country’s economic performance.”

But Alice Haine, personal finance analyst for Bestinvest highlights that while £91,000 may seem generous particularly for younger MPs at the start of their career, older and more experience politicians could command a higher wage in the private sector.

"Many people choose to go into politics at a time when they have already carved out successful careers in law, finance and business," she says.

"As a result, the £91,000 remuneration will never be a match for their previously high salary, but it will serve as a suitable income for their work as an MP alongside other sources of income.  

"Ultimately, serving as an MP should not be considered a career only the wealthy can afford to pursue. Instead, the pay should be sufficient to attract all walks of life, in turn ensuring that all segments of society are represented in the House of Commons."

Haine highlights that a career as an MP is extremely high profile and can be very stressful.

"While hugely enjoyable for those passionate about improving society and the wider economy, working as an MP in the public eye, where every word you say and action you take is subjected to intense scrutiny, and often criticism, can be extremely taxing," she says.

"Plus, the 650 Members of Parliament must contend with the security risk that comes with such a prominent role, with two MPs murdered in the line of duty in recent years, and are often subject to abuse both on social media and in public."

Do MPs still get paid if they lose their seat?

While most workers don’t usually get paid if they leave their jobs, there is compensation in place if an MP loses their seat.

This is known as a winding up payment and is worth four months’ salary but only for those who have been an MP for two consecutive years.

MPs who stand down can get an allowance to cover the costs of shutting their office down.

Pension perks

It isn’t just the pay packet that is attractive for MPs. Political pensions are much-sought after.

MPs pay into a Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund. This is a defined benefit scheme that provides a retirement income linked to an MP’s final earnings and the number of years of service.

That is better than the defined contribution schemes that most private sector workers and constituents are used to. The pension scheme for MPs is extremely generous compared to what is available in the private sector, says Laith Khalaf.

“It is not as expensive to run as other public sector schemes  though in the grand scheme of public sector schemes it’s not hugely expensive because the number of members is extremely limited compared with the behemoths of the NHS and Teachers Pensions plans,” he says.

“Unlike most public sector schemes it’s also funded, which means there is a pool of assets there providing the benefits for retired members.”

Khalaf adds that while the scheme is generous, the career of an MP is extremely precarious as they need to  reapply for their job at least once every five years. 

“If they lose their seat then the benefits they have built up are preserved until retirement, but they don’t build up any more entitlement,” he adds. “Probably one of the most pernicious aspects of the MPs’ defined benefit scheme is it entirely detaches them from the pensions available to their constituents, and of course they make the rules that govern those pensions.”

Marc Shoffman
Contributing editor

Marc Shoffman is an award-winning freelance journalist specialising in business, personal finance and property. His work has appeared in print and online publications ranging from FT Business to The Times, Mail on Sunday and The i newspaper. He also co-presents the In For A Penny financial planning podcast.