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Friday, May 13, 2011

MPs still not gettng it

At a time when David Laws is starting a week's suspension for irregularities with his expense claims and following on having a number of MPs prosecuted for even worse offences, it seems a bit strange for MPs to be still talking about abolishing the independent watchdog that oversees their claims.

The Daily Telegraph says that MPs have ordered a “root and branch” review of the expenses system in the culmination of a year-long campaign against the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa).

They say that Ipsa has infuriated many MPs by forcing them to abide by rigorous rules, and limiting their claims. The review could result in the body being abolished altogether.

Ipsa however, has hit back: They say that it is “surprising” that MPs wanted to reopen the murky issue of expenses, and urged the Commons not to return to the system of self-policing which went disastrously wrong before the scandal.

The watchdog also rejected claims by MPs that Ipsa was more expensive than the House of Commons fees office, which previously administered allowances, pointing out that the new body had saved £18 million of taxpayers’ money in its first year.

The statement said: “Of course it is for Parliament to decide on such things, but the creation of yet another group of MPs to consider their own expenses is surprising.

"On behalf of taxpayers, we hope that [this] decision does not mean that MPs want to change their minds on independent regulation and transparency and revert to the old system, with MPs setting the rules and enjoying block allowances".

Personally, I am with them. Every other employer requires their employees to provide evidence for expense claims. Why should Parliament be different? More to the point, what do the MPs think they are playing at? Surely we should be trying to move on from this issue not re-open it.
re your blog banner you are now the duely elected member not candidate
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