MSPs' salaries, expenses and allowances
are entitled to a salary, and where applicable, expenses and allowances.
The Scotland Act 1998 provides for pay and allowances to MSPs, officeholders of the Scottish Parliament and Ministers. The Parliament is required to make provision for the payment of:
- salaries and allowances to MSPs and to members of the Scottish Executive, and
- pensions and the like to former MSPs, members of the Scottish Executive and officeholders of the Parliament.
HistoryIn July 1997, the UK Government invited the Review Body on Senior Salaries to set the initial salaries of MSPs, but said that it would be for the Scottish Parliament to determine the allowances to be paid to MSPs. In March 1999, the SSRB published two reports and, on 31 March, the Prime Minister accepted all the SSRB's recommendations as to pay levels for MSPs, officeholders of the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Ministers. He also accepted the arguments for an early review, in 2001, of the levels of pay and allowances.
Initial salaries of £40,092, subject to annual up-rating according to the senior civil service formula, were set established. The Presiding Officer received an additional £33,360 and deputy Presiding Officer an additional £17,305 a year. This remained in force until the Parliament made alternative arrangements for the current salary scheme. Under this scheme, salaries were up-rated annually from 1 April each year using a formula relating to senior civil service salary increases, which in turn remained in force until 1 April 2002 when the Scottish Parliament's own arrangements, conferring the function of setting salaries on the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body, came into effect.
2001 ReviewIn 2001, on the invitation of the then First Minister and the then Presiding Officer, the SSRB again reviewed parliamentary pay of MSPs, officers of the Parliament and Ministers, as well as allowances. The SSRB reported in December 2001 and its recommendations, which were broadly accepted by the four main political parties were as follows:
- MSPs’ salaries should be set at 87.5% of MPs’ salaries at Westminster
- there should be no change to the arrangements for the salaries of the First Minister, Deputy First Minister, other Scottish Ministers, the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland
- the officeholder salaries of the Junior Ministers and the Deputy Presiding Officers should be increased to £22,145
- any future adjustments at Westminster should trigger a review of the relevant salaries at the Scottish Parliament
Post 2001 ReviewScottish Parliament Salaries and Allowances was debated in the Chamber on 21 March 2002.
It was argued in debate that because MSPs were uncomfortable about setting their own salaries, the motion for debate provided that the SPCB should decide salary levels for members and ministers and that any future increases should be based on 87.5% of Westminster salaries. It was also recognised that circumstances may change in the future and that the automatic link to Westminster salaries may no longer be appropriate. For this reason the motion provided that the SPCB would be responsible for the review and implementation of future salary levels, having taken, and had regard to, appropriate advice on the matter.
Current salariesFrom 1 April 2020, the salary of a Member of the Scottish Parliament is £64,470. Additional amounts are paid to ministers and officers of the Parliament. Both the Lord Advocate and the Solicitor General for Scotland receive the equivalent of an MSP salary included with their Law Officer salaries.
|Office||Additional Office holder's salary||Total salary|
|Deputy Presiding Officers||30,351||94,821|
AllowancesMSP's are allowed to claim for certain expenses encountered as a result of taking up their position, these include:
- Members’ Support Allowance
- Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance
- Exceptional Needs Allowance/Overnight Expenses Allowance
- Members’ Travel Allowance
- Family Travel Allowance
- Disability Allowances
- Winding Up Allowance
The figures above are for the financial year 2007/8.
Pensionsare available to MSP's and specified office holders. They are paid out of a fund known as the Scottish Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund, and administered by the SPCB. Participants contribute 6% of their salaries or, where applicable, 6% of a ‘permitted maximum’ salary. Participants can apply for an early pension where they cease to be a contributor because of ill health before attaining the age of 65.
Expenses for 'Non-Executive' partiesFinancial assistance is available for opposition parties "for the purpose of assisting members of the Parliament who are connected with such parties to perform their Parliamentary duties." To be eligible, a party may have no more Ministers or Junior Ministers than one fifth of the total number of Ministers and Junior Ministers within the Scottish Executive
In addition, a Party Leaders Allowance is available to those party leaders of registered political parties with not less than 15 MSPs, excluding the leader of any party which has a Scottish Minister or Junior Minister amongst its members. The scheme provides for reimbursement of specified expenses incurred by a qualifying party leader, the current figures are: