Scottish Conservative Annie Wells has mocked a new Highlands MSP online over her concerns about going into debt to pay some of the up-front costs associated with getting to Holyrood.
Emma Roddick, elected on the SNP list vote at last week’s election, wrote on Twitter that she would be asking if any salary advance was available to help cover the outlay of her new job.
“Probably a point to be made about new MSPs being expected to live, travel, dress, spend money like an MSP for a month before they receive a salary.”
“Hello, unplanned overdraft”, wrote the Alness native, who has spoken before about going through periods of homelessness.
While some people responded compassionately, or even offered loans, others had less sympathy for the politician’s plight – one branded her “ridiculously out of touch” – considering Ms Roddick’s annual salary as an MSP will be more than £64,000.
In addition MSPs can claim up to £60,700 for expenses such as meeting constituents, running their office and employing staff; an accommodation allowance for staying in Edinburgh of up to £10,369 in Ms Roddick’s case; and a travel allowance, among other subsidies.
The Highlands MSP said she understood the point people were making about her new salary level and that she wouldn’t be in this position a month from now when she received her first pay cheque.
“But if this prevents working-class people from standing for parliament and therefore being a part of our legislature, it’s an issue worth considering,” she responded.
Support from Ruth Davidson
Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson had some sympathy for the issues facing new MSPs from low-income backgrounds.
“I had the same issue when I was first elected and the admin team at (Holyrood) were very willing and able to help.
“One of the great things about Holyrood as a workplace is that anything you don’t know or want to find out about (especially in the first few months) if you just stick your hand up to ask, people are really keen to help. Enjoy settling in,” Ms Davidson wrote.
However, Tory MSP Annie Wells was much less sympathetic.
“Aw, diddums” she wrote on Twitter, with a facepalm emoji.
“Your sheer entitlement is on full display here, please reflect on this tweet for the benefit of your constituents.”
Aw, diddums 🤦
Your sheer entitlement is on full display here, please reflect on this tweet for the benefit of your constituents 👇 https://t.co/0AgOyCc3Vf
— Annie Wells MSP (@AnnieWellsMSP) May 11, 2021
Highlands MSP Emma Roddick says: “Not saying MSP pay is too low, just that someone on a low salary entering it may struggle *before* they are paid, and that may be a barrier.”