Below are the agreed salaries for the new Police and Crime Commissioners. They have been set by a complex process which allows for, among other things, those areas with larger populations to offer larger remuneration.
And below you will also find the limit for election expenses for each candidate in each police area for the period immediately preceeding the election. This is mostly related to the number of electors in each area.
So, perhaps there is an economist living inside me somewhere, as I thought it would be interesting to divide the maximum election expenses by the salary on offer in each area. And I note that the result generated varies considerably, from election expense limits that are 1.1 times salary in Cleveland all the way up to 3.7 times salary in Thames Valley and the West Midlands.
I don’t know what it proves though – so thought I would leave that part up to you. Clearly the salary probably ranks fairly low in most candidates’ reasons for doing the job and I would not be surprised if most candidates spent nowhere near their election expenses limit, but it seems odd that the ratios would be so different.
I’m particularly interested in whether independents find the ratio for their area encouraging or depressing. I suppose it may establish that no-one in their right minds would do this for the money. As a point of comparison, my recollection of parliamentary elections is that they would generate numbers that are roughly 0.2 to 0.25 – radically different to the situation with PCCs. If we accept that election expenses limits are there to level out the playing field among candidates, this suggests to me that the size of electorates at this election allows a significantly less-even playing field among candidates from a purely financial perspective.