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Doesn't everyone?

Michael Blastland
This week's Analysis presenter, Michael Blastland

BBC Radio 4's Analysis: Doesn't Everyone? is broadcast on Monday 22 June at 20.30 BST.

The public is outraged by the level of MPs' expenses claims. Yet apparently many politicians feel entitled to all they have claimed, arguing that they are relatively poorly paid.

So how well off are they when compared to those they are meant to represent?

An MP's basic salary is £65,000 a year, without expenses. Is that enough to put them in the top 30% of earners? The top 20%? Or higher?

Lord Lawson
If others are making claims for example on the expenses, their colleagues eventually think well, why shouldn't I?
Lord Lawson

Ali Muriel from the Institute for Fiscal Studies reveals that even without expenses, an MP's salary is enough to make him or her better off than 92% of the population.

With expenses, he or she has an income that is higher than 98% of us.

So why do so many MPs feel they are not well paid?

Michael Blastland explores the powerful effects of 'group think', increased social segregation and our unhealthy tendency to compare ourselves with those who are better off (but not those worse off) than ourselves.

Analysis: Doesn't Everyone? will repeat on Sunday 5 July at 21.00 BST

Interviewees include:

Lord Lawson of Blaby, former Chancellor of the Exchequer

Ann Cryer MP, Labour member for Keighley

Sir Bob Worcester, Chairman, Ipsos Mori

Dr Sandra Jovchelovitch, Reader in Social Psychology, London School of Economics

Ramsey Raafat, University College London

Dr Ruth Fox, The Hansard Society

Ali Muriel, Institute for Fiscal Studies

Professor Andrew Oswald, Department of Economics, University of Warwick

Professor Daniel Dorling, Department of Geography University of Sheffield

Coming up

Philosopher Janet Radcliffe Richards looks at the latest range of experiments shedding light on the moral choices we make.

Please note this will be broadcast on Sunday 28 July at 21.30 BST and repeat on Monday 29 July at 20.30 BST.




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If everyone's at it...
03 Jul 09 |  Magazine
MPs pay back £500,000 in expenses
19 Jun 09 |  UK Politics
Minister quits over home tax move
17 Jun 09 |  UK Politics
Inquiry into MPs' expenses begins
16 Jun 09 |  UK Politics
MPs' expenses 'shocked' watchdog
14 Jun 09 |  UK Politics

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