Friday, July 04, 2008

Stop the scandal of MPs pay and expenses: find out what MPs needs are and meet them, no more and no less

I strongly object to the way MPs pay and expenses are handled. Its not independent and its not ethical by any acceptable standard (see 'MPs scrap plan to cut expenses', Bristol Evening Post, 4 July). We need to stop the scandal of MPs pay and expenses: find out what MPs needs are and meet them, no more and no less.

I recently posted about the work of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation who looked at what various categories of people need in order to live at an acceptable standard and participate in UK society. I propose that this sort of method should be applied to all MPs, including members of the Government - get a fair, independent body to examine what is needed for MPs to do their jobs well and also live decent, reasonably rounded lives and pay them and/or provide them with appropriate facilities as required.

If I was ever elected as an MP (I wish!!) I would certainly work on this basis, whether or not this kind of system was the official one. Are any local MPs willing to have an independent body go over what their actual needs are? Are they happy that the following will still be happening (as listed by The Guardian) after the recent House of Commons vote:

• MPs can continue to claim for furniture and household goods for their second homes, known as the "John Lewis list" as the Commons only authorises payments in line with the prices charged by that retailer;
• Additional costs allowance will remain, and not become an overnight expenses allowance with a £19,600 ceiling;
• No outside audit of MPs' expenses;
• No receipts for claims under £25;
• Claims for outer London MPs will not be cut.

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