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Tory MP severance payments to cost taxpayers £35m

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A potential electoral defeat for the Conservative Party could result in a significant financial burden for British taxpayers, amounting to an estimated £35 million, it has been reported. This expense stems from the anticipated costs associated with severance payments to outgoing Members of Parliament (MPs) and staff, who would be entitled to substantial redundancy packages in the event of losing their seats.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has estimated that each politician leaving the Commons costs £116,000 on average. The average salary for an MP as of April 2024 was £91,346, according to ONS figures. MPs currently receive a pension of 1/40th, 1/50th or 1/60th of their final salary for every year of pensionable service, depending on the contribution rate they pay.  There is no automatic lump sum payable.

The possibility of this financial outlay is linked to current polling data suggesting a significant swing away from the Conservatives in favour of Labour. If these projections hold, a large number of Conservative MPs could lose their positions, triggering the severance payment obligations. The payments are part of statutory requirements meant to support MPs who lose their seats, intended to cover their transition back to civilian employment.

Critics argue that the hefty bill highlights the broader fiscal irresponsibility and poor planning within the government, especially considering the ongoing economic pressures facing the UK. The severance packages are calculated based on the MPs’ salaries and length of service, which can lead to substantial sums for long-serving members.

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