The British Prime Minister, David Cameron, earns £142,500 a year. He actually took a 5% pay cut when he took up the position, a political move to show sympathy with those struggling along in tough post-recession times.
Now a new survey has revealed that 9,000 public sector workers earn more than the Prime Minister. But why should anyone be shocked?
The Prime Minister’s salary is artificially low and kept that way for political reasons, because the public don’t like to see elected officials earning too much cash. There is a strong argument for paying them more, because by paying them the market rate for an official with a large responsibility, you remove the potential for fraud. The 2009 expenses scandal shows that expenses were ‘topping up’ MP salaries and countries like Singapore insist on paying their elected officials a high basic rate, with very few additional perks to avoid these kind of issues.
Compare this to the private sector – Chief Executives of major British companies can now expect salaries of above £1m. About a quarter of the FTSE 100 chiefs earn in excess of £5m a year.
Compare these wages to the Prime Minister and it looks more like he is running the country as a hobby, just banking the experience for a future of earning money on the lecture circuit.
So why shouldn’t there be senior public sector officials earning more than the Prime Minister? They are not elected into a position that needs them to constantly pander to voters. They are appointed and given a budget and targets – if they do a good job at managing a huge budget and team of thousands, then why can’t they earn a similar rate to the private sector?