MPs expenses

I didn’t comment on the Labour party expenses story when it first came out because I knew that there was likely to be bad new for some Conservatives too. Unfortunately I was proven right.

I’m not sure that many MPs have really grasped the scale of damage that this episode has caused, the House of Commons has been brought into disrepute. This story will not go away until serious changes are made in the way allowances and expenses are paid, this will mean that some MPs will get significantly less than they’re used to.

What would I do differently? My proposals are simple and reflect common practice in other areas of life.

1. Parliament buys up a stock of properties within a sensible distance of Westminster, these are then allocated to MPs whose constituency is too far from London to commute. They are furnished and decorated by parliament with any extra “luxuries” paid for by the MP. There should be enough 3-4 bedroom flats to accommodate MPs who want to locate their families to London.

2. All staff are employed by parliament, rather than the MP. The MP can draw up a job spec and person spec (agreed by the commons authorities) and conducts the interviews. They can employ friends, relatives etc. but their work will be performance managed centrally by parliament to prevent payment for no/little work.

3. All expenses to be paid on submission of receipts.

4. MPs to recieve a significant increase in their salaries. This may seem controversial but MPs salaries are out of kilter with other people doing jobs of similar responsibility or standing. Most MPs work long hours and have a challenging job. There are some MPs who are lazy, stupid or just ineffective, they should just be voted out.

8 responses to “MPs expenses

  1. MPs should get paid more, but not if they have other jobs. If they have any other means of employment – including Non-Executive Directorships or Trade Union Represetation they should take a cut in pay to reflect that they are not fully committed to being MPs. I want all our MPs to be full time employed and full time committed to parliament.

    Brown’s attendance allowance at least took account of their commitment to parliamentary business. Although many MPs work hard there are some who take no part in debates, never vote, do little to represent their constituents. We should not be paying for these MPs even if they are elected.

    All MPs have holidays that last for months and have enormous public sector pensions, there are many others in the public sectors – such as nurses, doctors, teachers, police, firemen, whose job is at least as challenging as MPs and who get paid significantly less, and most of these professional are not allowed second jobs.

    They should also be entitled to performance related pay based on the success of the economy and quality of social welfare.

  2. MPs should get paid more, but not if they have other jobs. If they have any other means of employment – including Non-Executive Directorships or Trade Union Represetation they should take a cut in pay to reflect that they are not fully committed to being MPs. I want all our MPs to be full time employed and full time committed to parliament.

    Brown’s attendance allowance at least took account of their commitment to parliamentary business. Although many MPs work hard there are some who take no part in debates, never vote, do little to represent their constituents. We should not be paying for these MPs even if they are elected.

    All MPs have holidays that last for months and have enormous public sector pensions, there are many others in the public sectors – such as nurses, doctors, teachers, police, firemen, whose job is at least as challenging as MPs and who get paid significantly less, and most of these professional are not allowed second jobs.

    They should also be entitled to performance related pay based on the success of the economy and quality of social welfare.

  3. James,

    Your comment that “Most MPs work long hours and have a challenging job” is bordering on the ludicrous. There are millions of people out there, earning far less, who have far more challenging jobs and who work longer hours. An MPs life is a cushy number compared to that of most of the British workforce.

    Harriet Harman claimed the outrageous amount of £127,685 of taxpayer’s money in expenses – on top of her already large tax-payer funded salary – in 2007/08. That is absolutely disgusting.

    What’s even more disgusting is that 555 (FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FIVE) MPs claimed MORE than this!

    If ever there was a reason to dust off the guillotine, this is it.

  4. James,

    Your comment that “Most MPs work long hours and have a challenging job” is bordering on the ludicrous. There are millions of people out there, earning far less, who have far more challenging jobs and who work longer hours. An MPs life is a cushy number compared to that of most of the British workforce.

    Harriet Harman claimed the outrageous amount of £127,685 of taxpayer’s money in expenses – on top of her already large tax-payer funded salary – in 2007/08. That is absolutely disgusting.

    What’s even more disgusting is that 555 (FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY FIVE) MPs claimed MORE than this!

    If ever there was a reason to dust off the guillotine, this is it.

  5. Pretty much agree with points 1-3, but re the salaries, perhaps there should be an independent review panel that sets salary increases annually, as is the case in many places for cllr allowances, so the decision is taken out of the hands of those set to benefit from any increases.

  6. Pretty much agree with points 1-3, but re the salaries, perhaps there should be an independent review panel that sets salary increases annually, as is the case in many places for cllr allowances, so the decision is taken out of the hands of those set to benefit from any increases.

  7. I have to agree with the above. In the private sector (nowadays) £65k is pretty good for a middle manager (3-6 staff and a business / budget of up to 4 million per annum). We have to remember, that a large number of MP's come from backgrounds such as teachers or solicitors, and that they are simply not of the caliber that would get them into those £65k plus jobs. Some would say that being an MP is all that is left open to them, due o the minimal scrutiny put on their work output & quality. We should not be paying people what they are fundamentally not worth. In addition, Harman said that almost all did the job for the public service. well, in line with other public servants like Army/firemen, nurses eta all they should be on somewhere nearer £30k.

  8. I have to agree with the above. In the private sector (nowadays) £65k is pretty good for a middle manager (3-6 staff and a business / budget of up to 4 million per annum). We have to remember, that a large number of MP's come from backgrounds such as teachers or solicitors, and that they are simply not of the caliber that would get them into those £65k plus jobs. Some would say that being an MP is all that is left open to them, due o the minimal scrutiny put on their work output & quality. We should not be paying people what they are fundamentally not worth. In addition, Harman said that almost all did the job for the public service. well, in line with other public servants like Army/firemen, nurses eta all they should be on somewhere nearer £30k.

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