These Are the Biggest Money-Makers for UK Politicians

    While British MPs are in line for yet another substantial pay rise this year, that isn’t enough to keep most of them satisfied. Effective from 1 April, your MP will be getting a 1.8% pay rise, equivalent to an average annual salary increase of £2,089 according to The BBC. While most of us can only dream of getting such a substantial boost, our elected representatives have been enjoying such above-inflation pay rises every year for the past decade.

    What’s more, a significant number of these MPs have other sources of income which often exceeds their generous salaries. This is in part due to the fact that many MPs also have business interests, with a large proportion of such politicians having come from a business career into politics later in life. If you want to know how politicians top-up their income, read on to find out the biggest sources of extra cash for MPs. 

    Real Estate

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    Close to one in five MPs are landlords according to the latest data from Channel 4, making real estate one of the most popular second-income choices for politicians in the UK. The majority of the 123 MPs who are landlords are Conservatives, including Phillip Hammond, Boris Johnson, and John Bercow. However, not all of this income is from investments. Rather, many MPs have homes outside of London, which they rent out when they are working in the capital.

    Dividends and Shares

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    Many politicians have substantial investments in shares across a wide range of businesses. Their investments are rooted in almost every sector, including the energy, financial, retail, and gambling industries. For example, the major UK gaming platform Paddy Power, paid out over £500 million in dividends last year. So, while the rest of us were chancing our luck on five reels, three rows, and ten paylines in Starburst (one of the site’s games), certain trusts and funds partly owned by British politicians could rely on a chunk of that payout. Many such profitable investments by UK MP predate their political careers.

    Speaking Engagements

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    For both current and former politicians, public speaking engagements are big money. Former heavyweights such as David Cameron, Tony Blair and George Osbourne have collectively made millions of pounds speaking at universities, foreign embassies and think tank events over the past decade. Meanwhile, current politicians such as Jacob Rees Mogg have made a killing in recent years by agreeing to give speeches at events all over the world.

    Media Roles

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    It’s no secret that many politicians in the UK have a cosy relationship with various media institutions. Who can forget that the former foreign secretary and current MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip earns a whopping £275,000 a year for his column in The Telegraph newspaper, on top of his £74,962 salary he draws as an MP (source: The Guardian). Meanwhile, former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osbourne, who earned similar amounts for media roles throughout his career, has since been raking in a total of £1 million per year as editor in chief of the Evening Standard, a London-based tabloid.

    It seems that being an elected representative simply isn’t rewarding enough for a significant number of politicians these days. Perhaps their next inevitable pay rise will convince them to ditch their side hustles and focus on running the country full-time.


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