What's the real story of MEPs' "pay and perks"?
There has recently been much confusion in the media about the pay and entitlements of our elected Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).
What do they really earn?
MEPs are paid €74,408.64 (£61,300) per annum after EU taxes have been deducted. This may then be subject to national tax in their home country.
MEPs cannot decide on their own salaries. These are decided and approved by member states' governments - including the UK government.
Are there additional entitlements?
Much of MEPs' work means being away from their home country working in a multi-cultural parliament legislating for over 500 million people. A number of allowances are available to cover the costs involved.
On 20th April 2014 The Telegraph reported "One allowance for parliamentary assistants to work in the Brussels or local office of an MEP is worth £213,000 a year."
- This is not an allowance and is not paid to MEPs. MEPs' assistants are not paid by MEPs. They are paid directly by the European Parliament.
The Telegraph goes on to say, "The allowance has been dogged by scandal with MEPs funnelling large amounts of cash to individuals, often relatives or political party cronies, who have sometimes done little work. "
- MEPs are no longer allowed to employ their family members. A transitional period applies for those who were employed in the previous parliamentary term and this exception expires following the European elections 2014.
Since 2011 MEPs' allowances have been frozen - at their own request.