This page provides details of the pay and expenditure related to Molly’s work as an MEP and her tax return. Molly’s accounts are done by Linden Accountants and are available at the bottom of this page.
Europe often stands accused of providing an opportunity for elected MEPs to ride a ‘gravy train’. Such accusations tend to be based on misinformation or a hostile press and media pursuing an anti-European agenda. The information below seeks to provide an accurate picture of exactly what income MEPs receive in line with their work, so that a well-informed judgement can be made about the different budgets MEPs have.
It is important to make a clear distinction between salary, expenses and allowances. A salary is paid to an MEP in the same way as a salary is for any job. Expenses are based on money paid for such areas as travel and daily living allowances and then claimed back, while allowances are made available to pay staff costs, office rents, stationary and phone bills, for example.
The sections below seek to be as transparent as possible. Please contact Molly’s Bristol Office if you feel there are any gaps or areas not covered adequately.
At present the monthly pre-tax salary for MEPs amounts to €8,020 which is the equivalent of an annual gross salary of €96,240. The salary level is based on 38.5% of the basic salary of a judge at the European Court of Justice and is changed in line with that salary. This was the level agreed with national governments. MEPs do not vote separately on their own salary.
The cost of MEP’s pay is met from the European Parliament’s budget and is subject to an EU tax and accident insurance contribution, after which the monthly salary is €6,250. Because the UK is outside the Eurozone, the actual monthly salary received by UK MEPs varies according to the monthly exchange rate.
UK MEPs pay National Insurance contributions and the difference between EU and national tax, so the total amount of tax is based on an equivalent UK salary.
Prior to July 2009 MEPs were paid at a rate equivalent to MPs in the country they represent, leading to huge discrepancies between MEPs from, for example, Poland and Italy. Scrapping this in favour of equal salaries helped push through other reforms of the allowances and expenses system.
Molly makes a voluntary contribution of 10% of her net salary to the Green Party.
The European Parliament’s total budget represents about 1% of all EU expenditure. About one fifth of that 1% is allocated to MEPs’ total expenditure at present. Each Member of the European Parliament is entitled to claim the following allowances, which are paid from the Parliament’s budget.
This is formally called the General Expenditure Allowance. For 2014 this allowance was €4,299 per month and for 2015 it increased to €4,320 per month (having been frozen since 2011). The precise amount received will depend on the exchange rate at the time of each payment. It is used for expenditure such as constituency office rent, telephone and postal charges, and IT costs. The allowance is halved if an MEP fails to attend at least half of the Strasbourg plenary sessions, unless prior permission has been sought, for example on the grounds of illness or for maternity leave.
A summary of Molly’s annual general allowance expenses which lists receipts for items over £100 will be available soon. Items of expenditure between £25 and £100 can be made available on request from Molly’s Bristol office.
This is formally called the Parliamentary Assistance Allowance. The maximum amount available is €21,379 per month and must be spent on ‘human resources’; people to assist MEPs in their Parliamentary work. It is not paid to the MEPs themselves. This allowance can cover staff employed on a long-term (the five years that a Parliament lasts) or temporary basis, and covers other possibilities such as consultancy and research.
It also covers all the related costs such as national insurance, tax, pension, training and staff expenses, should they be asked to travel to Strasbourg, for example. MEPs can also use it to cover expenses for those on work experience. Members have to demonstrate to Parliament’s authorities that staff are covered for tax and social security payments.
The Parliamentary Assistance Allowance cannot be paid directly to the MEPs themselves. Molly uses Linden Accountants as a Paying Agent to administer UK staff resources and contracts. The contracts for Brussels based staff and stagiaires (interns) are administered and paid directly by the Parliament.
The contract with Linden Accountants is regulated by the Parliamentary authorities. At the end of each calendar year, through her Paying Agent, Molly provides a detailed reconciliation of the monies received for Parliamentary Assistance to the European Parliament. These are reviewed by the Parliamentary authorities and formally signed off if correct.
Molly’s team is currently made up of eight people, some working full time and some working part time:
Senior Parliamentary Assistant – based in Brussels (37.5 hours a week)
Second Parliamentary Assistant – based in Brussels (37.5 hours a week)
Stagiaire/Intern – (remunerated under the European Parliament rules; employed for 6 months only and working 30 hours a week.)
South West staff
Constituency coordinator – based in the Bristol office (30 hours a week)
Media Officer – based in Exeter/Bristol (30 hours a week)
Senior Regional Liaison Officer (21 hours a week)
Two Regional Liaison Officers (each working 15 hours a week)
- MEPs cannot have close relatives among their staff.
Daily Attendance Allowance
Because MEPs are required to move frequently between their constituencies and the European Parliament’s two main places of work (Brussels and Strasbourg), they can claim a subsistence allowance to cover expenses such as hotel rooms and/or flat rental and meals. For 2015, this allowance is a payment of €306 per day, and is payable for each day MEPs attend an official Parliamentary meeting or are present at an EU institution (Luxembourg, Brussels or Strasbourg) during an official working day for work purposes. No receipts are required as this is a lump-sum payment, made if MEPs sign the official register or an attendance list.
During official visits outside the EU, MEPs are paid 50% of the daily attendance allowance plus accommodation costs. During official plenaries of the Parliament, the amount is halved if a Member is not present for 50% of the roll-call votes. Molly has a nearly universal rule against flying and so rarely makes visits outside the EU. Hence she has not spent any of this budget so far.
This allowance is for travel to the Parliament both in Brussels and in Strasbourg and for official meetings. On presentation of receipts MEPs are refunded the actual cost of any travel tickets purchased. They are also entitled to time and distance allowances for attending official Parliamentary meetings. Under the current rules, travel within the UK should now be claimed directly from the European Parliament and MEPs are entitled to 24 journeys a year. This does not cover the number of constituency journeys made by Molly in a year so the time and distance travel allowance monies are used to support these important constituency visits. Molly took no flights during her first year. She travelled to places as far afield as Gibraltar and Latvia by a combination of sea, rail and road options. She also encourages all her staff to travel on official business by sustainable transport options which do not involve flights.
Personal Travel Allowance
Each member can claim up to €4,264 per year for personal travel allowance, payable against receipts/proofs of expenditure. This is intended to enable members to accept invitations outside usual places of work or make their own fact-finding journeys outside their own Member State. Molly has not needed to claim from this budget during her first year but may do so in future years, perhaps to attend meetings of the Latin American delegations she is a member of.
Since the 2009 statute, MEP pensions are dealt with by the European Parliament and the old voluntary additional pension scheme has been abolished for newly elected MEPs. The Green Group tabled proposals that this additional fund should not be bailed out from the European Parliament budget.
Accounts complied by Linden Accountants:
An MEPs salary has tax deducted both in Belgium and the UK. Molly is also retained on a 0.2 fractional contract by the University of Roehampton as she is still supporting a number of PhD students.