Sunday, March 22, 2009

Another home run on expenses.
Herald Express letters regular correspondent Paul Raybould raised the thorny question of MP's allowances and expenses in a letter to the paper last week, and asked whether in these recessionary times, MP's will revisit the subject of their own generous allowances.

This is what I wrote in reply:

"The answer is unfortunately "not before the next election". MP's stopped short of the kind of substantial revisions to their allowances required to bring practices into line with the rest of the Civil Service and most businesses.
David Cameron has promised an early review of the allowances system and if he becomes our next Prime Minister I expect radical changes and cuts. He has already pledged to do away with MP's copper bottomed pension.

As to sincerity, I sincerely oppose the whole gravy train that MP's allowances have become. Since 2003 I have campaigned against the current system where the lines between voluntary political activity and tax payer funded constituency work are blurred so that MP's can employ their political friends, fund their local party HQ and employ members of their own family on the taxpayer.

If I am the next MP for Torbay I have pledged to use the staffing allowance to employ only essential staff, in published job roles, and I will advertise any vacancy openly so that anyone qualified can apply. In addition I have said I will not employ members of my family.
I oppose the special communications allowance and the use of taxpayers money to publish and distribute an annual review to every elector and I will campaign hard, if elected, to have these allowances abolished.

It is absolutely vital that MP's set an example to everyone in the public sector that good service and cost-efficiency can go together. As important in my view, is the need to prove to a cynical public that politicians are in the business of public service, and are not just doing it for personal gain."

This has been given extra prominance by a weekend of revelations about Tony McNulty claiming £14,000 every year to buy a house in Harrow, London; which is 9 miles from his home in Hammersmith, London. He lets his parents live in the Harrow house and pays for it on his Parliamentary Housing Allowance.

And, we are assured by the 'unbiased' BBC, that this is within the rules so he has done nothing wrong!

Well thank goodness for that!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why don't we discuss senior Tory MP - Eric Pickles' - laughable justification of the need to claim expenses on a second home, ebven though his constituency is 37 miles from Wstminster.

What a plank !

It might be worth discussing how many think the better part of 90K a year for Msyor Bye ans Cllr Carroll represents good value for money for Torbay counciltax payers.