Tuesday, 28 July 2009

More haste, More Dosh but less Transparency #MPsExpenses

Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems had urged Members of Parliament to take time to deal with the situation of expenses and public confidence before they returned to their constituencies for the summer recess. End result the new outcry over the subsistence allowance.

Not that there wasn't outcry over Gordon Brown's proposal when it was first muted, many MPs from all sides were pointing out that this would give more money with less accountability. The £25 pounds for each night spent away from their main home could amount to £9,000 without the need for a receipt to be shown. There are full time workers in the UK who are lucky to have that amount of money to spend on all their bills, food and getting to work after taxes.

The unreceipted claims for food under the old discredited system was £4,800, but at least was debated even if the Labour and Tory benches overwhelmingly supported it. This new subsistence allowance was rushed through in the final days of the Parliamentary session, without even full Parliamentary scrutiny or a vote. Instead it was passed by a small committee chaired by the speaker John Bercow and including Harriet Harman as Leader of the House and Alan Duncan from the Tory front bench.

All three had said that an expense system not backed by receipts was unacceptable yet what have they done? Almost doubled the unreceitable allowances to the within £1000 of the gross full time Minimum Wage for a adult working 35 hours per week.

This is a disgrace that should never have been allowed to happen. Nick had called on the House to get this sorted out in the open before returning to their constituencies. The people were calling out for this to be sorted and this should have been a priority and constituents would then have understood that they were determined to do something about it. However, with this news coming out just after the English schools have broken up for the summer and with MPs dispearsed makes bad reading and prolongs this distrust that the public has in politicians.

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