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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

MPs keep their propaganda on taxpayers

This morning's Times reports that the House of Commons Commission and the Leader of the House, Harriet Harman have carried out a u-turn over the MPs' communications allowance:

Last month Harriet Harman told the Commons that from the new year the allowance, a fund for sitting MPs to publicise their constituency work through leaflets and websites, would be scrapped.

Limits on spending by political parties come into force on January 1, until the general election. Public money for political purposes is more tightly controlled during this period.

“The proposal is that the use of the communications allowance should end on December 31, after which the new election expenses limits will come into force,” Ms Harman, the Leader of the House, said.

Now, after pressure from furious MPs the House of Commons Commission, whose membership includes the Speaker, Ms Harman and Sir George Young, a member of the Shadow Cabinet, have agreed to continue to make the fund available, according to minutes. The scope of what can be covered by claims will be restricted from January 1.

Personally, I have never liked this allowance. It effectively uses public money to reinforce incumbency. The fact that it will be available to be used in the run-up to a General Election will give sitting MPs an unfair advantage.

This decision is not a surprise but the wider signal that it sends out needs to be noted. The fact that this u-turn has happened at all indicates that the House of Commons is not serious about reforming its allowances system. There are too many vested interests and the will does not appear to be there to overcome them. If that is the case then it will be a sad day indeed for democracy in this country.
exactly, it effectively funds political parties and in particular the siitng M.P., akin
to the FA cup holder being given a grant for training to defend the cup
Nobody cares anymore, no more can an MP lie to the people that I do this job for you, not for me but for the people, it's just a job a money making job.
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