West Midlands Green MEP Ellie Chowns gives up half her salary to charity
A West Midlands MEP is giving away half her annual salary of £73,000 to charity after pledging to help others who are “working for positive social change”.
Ellie Chowns, who became the region’s first ever Green Party Euro MP when she was elected in May, says she will give away a portion of both her monthly pay and her daily living allowance for the duration of her time in Brussels.
The UK elected 73 MEPs in May after failing to leave the EU on the scheduled date on March 31.
They each get paid around £6,100 per month before UK taxes are taken off, and can claim up to £290 on top for each day they attend Parliament.
Ms Chowns went on unpaid leave from her job as a university lecturer when she was elected.
She said: “I’ve made a commitment to giving away half of my salary and half of the ‘daily living allowance’ that I get from the European Parliament – because I am generously paid, don’t need it all myself, and want to use the money to support others working for positive social change.”
She added that she had already made £5,000 in donations, giving £500 each to projects including Jasmine Road Community Gardens in Dudley, Acorns Black Country Hospice, West Mercia Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre and The Real Junk Food Project Birmingham.
Ms Chowns has also donated to environmental and social justice causes such as Greenpeace, Global Justice Now and Our Future Our Choice.
She is calling for constituents to contact her via her Facebook page with suggestions for other good causes deserving of support.
Earlier this year Brexit Party chairman Richard Tice vowed to give his MEP salary to charity, with an initial focus on groups that help ex-offenders get into wok.
Ms Chowns has spent the last month travelling around the region, meeting residents and councillors and to discuss the issue of how to tackle the climate crisis.
She has urged Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins to set out an updated action plan on climate.