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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Those moaning MPs - again!

The BBC report that MPs are gathering in the usual place today to talk about their favourite subject, their own expenses. If it were not so serious, it would be boring.

The suggestion is that MPs are seeking a return to the old system that caused them so much grief two years ago. The Members Expenses Committee, set up to oversee IPSA, the independent agency that administers members' expense claims, has suggested that a Commons body should be in charge of handing out expenses instead "because such a body would avoid imposing undue burdens on MPs and because it would benefit from the economies of scale" on issues like staffing and IT.

In other words they want to go back to the old Fees Office system that was so widely abused and discredited. An independent auditor recommended that more than £1m of claims it had approved over five years be repaid.

The BBC say that another potentially controversial proposal from the committee is that MPs should be allowed to decide whether to replace the current scheme, which requires receipts for all claims and sees details published on a bi-monthly basis, with flat-rate allowances for travel and accommodation:

MPs say that current rules requiring them to input individual claims into an online system, then send in receipts and supporting evidence separately, within 90 days, are a bureaucratic nightmare tying up their staff's time, causing them stress and putting them off applying for legitimate costs in the first place.

A survey by the Unite union of Parliamentary staff suggested 59% spent three hours or more a week processing expenses claims.

The bi-monthly publication of all claims also means they are spending their time "rebutting criticisms" about individual claims "taken out of context" and suffering damage to their reputations.

Good grief! When will these MPs stop moaning and get on with the job they were elected to do. Even with the reforms they have one of the most generous expenses and allowances system in the United Kingdom. Why should they be exempt from the sort of accountability that other employees have to suffer in order to access it?

These debates do nothing to enhance the reputation of politics and everything to undermine confidence in the democratic system.
I had to get receipts for everything no receipts no money it's simple, but I suspect it's hard when your painting the summer hours in Scotland to get a receipt from your brother. I off to a small get together with labour today, they wish to know after forty years why I decided to join the liberals, a question I have asked my self over the past year, but it does not matter I've retired from voting anyway.
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