Parliamentary expenses: the obvious solution

Ken writes:

You only have to hear the outlines to think our representatives are living like hogs in the fat house at the tax-payers’ expense, and frankly, it is starting to wear a bit thin. The problem seems to be equally bad in Britain and Ireland (a new UK scandal hits the headlines here).

The UK case cited is one of a number of ones centring on the possibility of nominating one house as one’s official residence and claiming expenses for maintaining another (ostensibly because one’s parliamentary duties call for one to be away from one’s constituency precisely in order to represent them). The galling excesses seem to arise when one lives close to one’s work (i.e. in London, or in and around Dublin) where representatives end up claiming for homes they, frankly, don’t credibly need.

Solution: Make the constituencies responsible for their representative’s upkeep in the big capital city. If they were relying on voluntary donations from their grass-roots organisations (having a ‘whip-around’, so to speak) to help meet their rent on a second home etc., they’d be more assiduous in their duties to the people it’s their job to represent. Also, the London and Dublin/commuter county representatives, would perhaps not get the sort of money they’re claiming now, because their communities would not see the necessity for it (but if they did find a lot of cash for their local representative, what would be the harm in that? At least it wouldn’t be a case of the tax payer being gouged).

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2 thoughts on “Parliamentary expenses: the obvious solution

  1. Belle Inconnue

    I think it’s even easier – just build an MPs halls of residence/hotel, then they can all stay there when they need to. on top of that they should be able to claim travel expenses back, but not ludicrous things like dvds or furniture for their second home.

    the halls could be quite nice, all mod cons provided, with a spacious flat so they can have meetings etc there if they want to, or there could be meeting rooms. It would be much cheaper than second homes, and after they stop being an mp another mp can rent their flat, instead of them walking off witha a second home. People who live far away could claim back their rent on their flat, while people who live nearby and just have an occasional stay could have a room overnight like a hotel. People who want to have a second home or stay in a fancy hotel can only claim back the (cheaper) price of staying in the mps halls.

    or they could just pay them all a bit more, and say they get no expenses at all – but at least either way it doesn’t feel like we’re being cheated.

    1. kenanddot

      Brilliant!

      Another thought I had: Publish all expenses claims online or with a full page in the Times or something. That would discourage frivolous claims too.

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