Saturday, 13 July 2024

The Scandal of MPs Expenses

EARLIER this month the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) reccommended that the basic salary of MPs should be increased. At the moment MPs pocket £66.393 a year. Ipsa wants this to go up to £74,000 in 2015. This is an increase of over £7,500.

During a period of aggressive cuts – imposed by Cameron and Clegg – this is a real kick in the teeth to ordinary working families. Here, many breadwinners have’t seen a meaningful wage rise for years.

Given the previous scandal concerning MPs expenses, NLP member Robert Byng from Barrhead, Scotland, wrote the following article which provides ways in which we can claw back the £20 million a year spent on MPs expenses.

Eagle-eyed readers may recall Robert’s previous article about Britain’s housing crisis: He also edits The Young Political Radical, a highly distinctive blog which pulls no punches. Check it out here:

ONCE AGAIN friends, face the greed of those who are elected to represent our needs but instead decide to open up their wallets and loot our hard earned taxes for everything it’s worth. As seen in the video here many MPs can claim more in expenses than what most people make in a single year, several times over. How can you blame them, the system is entirely designed to allow for their easy access to our money, and I doubt very many of us would be able to hold such a moral high ground with such a twistable system in place.

MPs expenses alone cost the tax payer almost 20 million a year, that’s nearly 80 million over a 4 year parliamentary term.

Rather, here are a few ideas which removes much of the expendables from the expenses:

5. University style halls for MPs and their staff

Having grown up in Barrhead, I have around me 4 Universities – all of which have thousands of students. Glasgow’s west end and Paisley are both University locations, with many students from abroad.

Recently the University of the West of Scotland (Paisley Campus) invested 13million in to a comfortable and modern halls for their students – nothing too fancy; a bed, en-suite bathroom, internet, heat and a shared kitchen space. The capacity for this hall is nothing too special, however as someone who has spent many a drunken lad’s evening in there with friends, I can assure you that it is more than comfortable, especially when taking in to account that they will live there for months at a time.

MPs expenses – all in it together?

One of the biggest tragedies of the recent expenses rows is that MPs have been fiddling with which exactly is their second home – London, or hometown. Most people would explode their heads with such complicated questions such as ‘where do you live?’ however MPs are clearly so much smarter than the common-joe man, often claiming for homes which are more costly than where what the MPs were originally living in.

No second homes, it’s really that simple. I’ve been away on business trips before, I’ve had to travel to and from work on a daily basis, and from what I recall I didn’t need a second home for that.

MPs may claim up to an annual limit of £19,900 – Around 600 MPs. I think we can spare some dosh to invest in a brand new Westminster campus, and it was surely be a holiday experience for most MPs who spent their University life in 5star housing courtesy of Eton.

4. No food allowances

MPs are entitled to £15 per day for parliamentary meals (after 19:50).

I have a few roles in my life where expenses are involved, and I can safely assure everyone reading that those doing the paperwork at the end of the month for finance would drag me in to the pits for hell for claiming for a £15 meal several times a week.

The highest expenditure I’ve ever received from a food allowance was £4 for a sandwich and latte (I know, I’m living the high middle class lifestyle, but I’m worth it) and even that was asking permission. The only reason I claimed it in the first place was due to being trapped in Aberdeen during the last snow storm and sadly, at the time, I was suffering some of the worst poverty of my life. £4 makes a difference to the every day lives of someone on benefits, or low wages. Someone making £67k a year can deal with it.

It’s a question of why do we need to pay for their food in the first place? Politicians knew they’d be spending much of their time in London, no-one jumped that fact on them. Universal suffrage – we pay for our food, and they should too!

3. No allowances for fancy meetings

One of the advantages of a parliamentary posting is that you can often decide where to hold your ‘meetings’.

For example: John Doe MP is meeting an expert in business to go over economics, rather than meeting in a local cafe or the office that MPs are give money for, he holds it in a restaurant.

What they don’t tell you is that many MPs claim their daily calories through tax payer expenses by claiming under the Duty Expenses which allows massive expenses for going about their daily duties.

I am not opposed to this expense, so long as it is responsible.

MPs should use their office, or an office, where tea, coffee and biscuits are supplies (value range, naturally).

I will cut some slack to MPs for this one, however, having worked for an organisation that had meetings every week, It’s amazing how much money goes in to catering for no real purpose at all other than keeping a bunch of cry babies happy.

If a meeting is 6 hours, sure have snacks, but 2 hours? Not on my taxes.

2. Arrest expenses fiddlers

What do you call someone who fiddles accounts, and is not in power? A resident of HMPrisons.

MPs fiddle their expenses with intention of making profit? Fruad.

Don’t pretend you wouldn’t like to see some MPs in prison…

1. Stop electing Etonian style, upper-class politicians

Now I know we live in a democracy however the reason so many politicians commit the offences that I’ve highlighted is because they come from a rich world where morals is poorly seen.

The working class represent the 70% of the nation, therefore most MPs should come from a background that didn’t involve daddy paying for their first Aston Martin at age 18.

The public are as much to blame for the mess we face with MPs as the MPs are themselves.

We allow too much to happen and not enough to be punished.

Stop giving them your votes, elect a party that’s outside the big three, and maybe then they’ll start taking in what we’ve been saying for years: We’re sick of politicians so far up their own rear that they are literally spouting the dung we all know them so well for.

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