Public support ban on MSPs having second jobs

A CONSULTATION has found overwhelming public support for a bid to ban MSPs from having second jobs.

By Ian Swanson
Friday, 6th September 2019, 4:29 pm
Neil Findlay hopes MSPs from across the parliament will now back his Bill
Neil Findlay hopes MSPs from across the parliament will now back his Bill

Lothian Labour MSP Neil Findlay is proposing a Bill in the Scottish Parliament to stop politicians earning thousands of pounds from outside sources while they are serving as elected representatives at Holyrood.

And 95 per cent of the 500 individuals and organisations who responded during the four-month consultation backed the principle that being an MSP should be a full-time job.

The Bill would ban MSPs from certain categories of paid work, restrict remuneration from any additional work, and limit the time spent on certain activities.

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A massive 95 per cent of respondents backed a ban on second jobs for MSPs.

There would be some "common sense" exemptions, such as for professionals, like nurses or teachers, who are required to carry out a certain number of hours per year to keep their professional credentials.

But the Bill would impose a restriction on outside remuneration up to a certain percentage of an MSP’s annual salary, as well as a limit on the amount of time an MSP could spends on certain activities in which they have a financial interest.

Mr Findlay said: “It is clear the public are fully behind these plans.

“During a time when people’s wages have not grown in line with inflation and the cost of living is on the rise, MSPs should be focused on their duty to their constituents, not spending their time increasing their income through second or third jobs."

The parliament's report on the consultation said the main reasons people supported the Bill included the view that being an MSP was a full-time job and required 100 per cent dedication and commitment; that MSPs are paid well enough to do what should be a full-time job; and that the proposal would help reduce the risks of conflicts of interest.

Mr Findlay will now draft his proposed "Restriction of Outside Remuneration etc. of MSPs Bill" taking into account the consultation responses before seeking support from fellow MSPs.

He said: “I urge MSPs from across the parliament to support this Bill so Scotland can become a standard bearer for democratic accountability.

"The proposal, if successful, would mark a historic moment for the Scottish Parliament during a time when trust in politicians is arguably at an all-time low."