MP criticised for speaking out on 'grim reality' of politician's salary on day of Universal Credit cut

By Rachel Sloper

A Conservative MP has been criticised as he reportedly told of the "grim" reality of living on his £82,000 salary on the same day Universal Credit has been cut.

Sir Peter Bottomley told The New Statesman's Anoosh Chakelian he believes politicians should be paid as much as doctors.

"I take the view that being an MP is the greatest honour you could have, but a general practitioner in politics ought to be paid roughly the same as a general practitioner in medicine,” he said.

In the interview, Bottomley branded the situation as “desperately difficult” for his newer colleagues, adding “I don’t know how they manage. It’s really grim.”

The basic annual salary of a Member of Parliament (MP) in the House of Commons is currently £81,932 - more than twice the UK's average salary of £31,461.

Meanwhile, the Universal Credit cut kicked in today, meaning six million people will see their income fall by £20 a week overnight at some point between October 13 and November 12.

The cut is due to the end of a £20-a-week uplift, which was introduced in April 2020 to help people cope with the Covid pandemic.

Twitter users said the comments "lacked empathy and self-awareness".

Jen Wood [@unojen_wood] tweeted: "Maybe we should have a whip-round for poor Sir Peter Bottomley who really can't manage on his wage, his shares, his rental income..."

Rach Garrioch [@RC_Garrioch] tweeted: "No empathy No self-awareness. Peter Bottomley has voted with his government to cut welfare support for those who won't be able to afford to heat their homes this year."

And Patrick Mulder [@MrPatrickMulder} wrote: "Sir Peter Bottomley thinking MPs are struggling on £82,000 a year plus expenses is going to be the thing that finally pushes me over the edge. And in the same week the government takes away £80 a month from the most vulnerable in our country. Couldn't make it up."

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