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Cost of MEPs and MPs in 2011

In 2012 Lord Stoddart of Swindon asked the government for the annual total costs of the House of Lords, the House of Commons and the European Parliament.[1]

The table below from the Treasury[2] sets out the annual cost, number of members and average cost per member for the House of Commons, House of Lords and European Parliament. It shows that even per member the cost of the European Parliament is more than twice that of the two UK chambers of government:

Chapter 12 - table

A reply was prompted by UK press reports of these figures. It pointed out that the European Parliament is polylingual, moves between two locations, not by choice, but under the terms of EU treaties, and that it has to rent its office space.

It also took issue with the claim in some reports that the European Parliament did not hold ‘proper debates’ by pointing out that it is ‘constantly grilling’ commissioners, that MEPs steer bills through several readings, and argued that they have ‘significantly more legislative powers than the average British backbench MP’, and that they are not bound by whips.[3]

This response does not take account of the fact that the European Parliament is unable to introduce legislation. It can only approve, amend or reject legislation introduced by the Commission.


[1] House of Lords Business, Tuesday 11 December 2012, HL4062

[2] The figures for the House of Commons are taken from the House of Commons annual accounts 2011-12 (for both administrative and Members budgets) and the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority annual accounts 2011-12. The House of Lords figures are for taken from the House of Lords annual accounts 2011-12.

For the European Parliament, figures are taken from the European Union Budget of 2011 financial report. The European Parliament increased from 736 Members to 754 from 1 December 2011. Reported annual cost of €1,555 million, converted at the December 2011 exchange rate of €1.18 = £1 Corporate%20Publications/Annual%20Report%20and% 20Accounts%202011-%202012.pdf 00059f3ea3/The-budget-of-the-European-Parliament.html



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