I’ve not seen the report in full, just the information currently doing the rounds in the media. As someone outside parliament but close enough to understand it, I’d like to put my reactions and ideas forward.
Here are the main proposals and my reactions to them:
* MPs to rent second homes only.
I think that the current system is untenable. MPs who represent constituencies outside central London can make a fortune when they sell their publicly funded second home, this has to stop. There must be provision for MPs who want to have their families with them in London during the week to rent larger properties. (I have written about MPs accommodation here)
* Ban on MPs employing family members on Commons payroll.
I think this proposal is misguided. I see nothing wrong with MPs having family working for them, MPs work funny hours and need staff that they can completely trust. Having family on the team helps in both these areas.
The abuse comes when those family members are not doing a proper job, this
could be dealt with by ensuring that all parliamentary staff are employed by
parliament rather than the MP. All the issues about remuneration, hours,
qualifications etc would be independently verified. Easy!
*Ban on MPs close to London claiming second home allowance.
This makes complete sense, the challenge will be defining who is “close to
*Allowances for inner London MPs to be reduced.
I have always assumed that this allowance was to part compensate inner
London MPs for not making money on their second home, as this perk will be going
there is less (no) need for this allowance.
*Scrapping the communications allowance
I think this should go, indeed I never agreed with it coming in, as you can see here.
*Scrapping of the resettlement allowance.
I think this would be rather unfair. There should be a discussion about the size of this payment but a couple of month’s salary wouldn’t bee seen as a fair redundancy payment elsewhere.
There are a number of points which I have a great deal of sympathy with, there are other elements which I feel miss the mark. The problem that MPs have is that the current public mood makes it almost impossible for them to have a sensible discussion about these recommendations.