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MP's expenses

(34 Posts)
grannyactivist Tue 08-Apr-14 16:04:06

Is it unreasonable to expect MP's to pay out of their own pockets for things like potato peelers, loo seats and cleaning products? My husband is a civil servant and despite getting a 'top performer' appraisal every single year he hasn't had a performance rated pay rise for seven years due to government cuts. He takes very seriously the fact that it's the public's money he's spending so when he goes away several nights a week for work he purposely keeps his expenses low; staying in cheap accommodation and eating as cheaply as he can. He can claim only for what he spends (quite rightly) and doesn't have an 'allowance' as most private sector workers do.
So it makes my blood boil when I see what MP's claim for and often receive as 'legitimate' expenses. angry

whenim64 Tue 08-Apr-14 17:09:24

I was incensed to hear Nadine Dorries rationalise how the 'old' system worked, where MPs were told to 'claim for everything' and the expenses people would work out what could go through. Hence, so many expense 'errors' and Maria Miller's 'mistake' in her housing claim - what rot!

How can anyone morally put in a claim for things that have nothing to do with their job, like the loo seats, duck house, Horlicks etc and think that it would be ok for the taxpayer to cover the cost? Whether that was the system or not, they should be intelligent enough to understand that it's not ok to do it?

My expenses were tightly capped when I worked in the public sector and I didn't claim expenses that I would have incurred anyway, like short car journeys and 'out-of-pocket' expenses on overnight stays far from home. There will always be people who try to milk a system, but tax-payers don't expect to be paying MPs for the things that they have to buy from their weekly income, so why should MPs get away with it?

I heard a good suggestion that the number of MPs should be halved and their pay increased so they don't need to claim expenses.

durhamjen Tue 08-Apr-14 17:24:02

Have you seen the house that Maria Miller has now bought for her million that she made on the other? Not in Basingstoke.
When they have a house that is partly paid for by the taxpayer, it is in effect, shared housing. Most housing associations say that if they pay half and you own half, they can clain half of the profit when you sell. I think that is what should happen here.

booboo Tue 08-Apr-14 17:56:14

I am so annoyed by these self serving politicians. Even if she does resign, she will return and get another highly paid job or appear on celebrity nonsense shows. I have worked hard all my life. I am 60 and would have retired but apparently we can't afford my pension so I have to carry on working till 65. I have just got a letter from the tax office informing me that they gave me the wrong tax code in 2012 so I owe them £1200. This was PAYE which I trusted that they were competent enough at taking the right amount. I have to pay it back even though it wasn't my fault. She and all the others should go and try doing a real job.

Iam64 Tue 08-Apr-14 18:23:18

I support durhamjen's point about the huge increase in value on the house Marie Miller bought, Leaving aside the fact that she didn't need a 2nd home to do her job, the fact she's making a huge profit on a property partly paid for by us, is outrageous.

I don't want to re-start a debate about the bedroom tax, or as some would call it, spare room tax - but honestly, talk about one rule for the wealthy, and another for the poor.

She is Shameless -

absent Tue 08-Apr-14 20:31:42

The problem with "old" system, apart from rubber stamping expenses as far as I can see, was that it was set up to be a source of extra income in the first place. Because it was thought that the electorate wouldn't swallow a large pay rise, the expenses system was changed so that we ended up with the duck houses, cans of dog food etc. Worst of all, we ended up with the tax payer funding the interest on mortgages for second homes and the so-called flipping of which home constituted a second home in a very buoyant housing market. Incidentally, the duck house claim was rejected but, of course, it should never have been made in the first place.

whenim64 Tue 08-Apr-14 21:15:34

Good point durhamjen. Let's have half the profit back for the taxpayer.

GrannyTwice Tue 08-Apr-14 22:35:33

When - I have to disagree about increasing pay and no expenses. Think about it - one MP lives within a short journey from Westminister, another lives in the South West or Scotland and has a very expensive journey to Westminister. Would that be fair? Whatever we decide to pay MPs, there should be a level playing field in terms of what they have left after necessary expenses such as travel to work and accommodation during the week. Of course we can say they are only paid standard rail fares and have to stay in a certain level of hotel but it would be fundamentally wrong surely for MPs ( like mine) who can live at home and have a 50 min commute into work to be left with a lot more disposable cash than an MP elsewhere who has to travel a long distance and then pay for a hotel as well

grannyactivist Tue 08-Apr-14 23:48:35

Why on earth the government don't just buy a nearby building and turn it into serviced studio flats for MP's I don't know; I would be happy for them to stay there rent free and during holiday periods when MP's aren't sitting the studios could be rented out as holiday lets to recoup some of the purchase costs or to pay for building maintenance. Then MP's could be reimbursed for travel and meals and there would be none of the opportunities for fiddling the public purse - either legally or otherwise.

durhamjen Tue 08-Apr-14 23:59:00

But Maria Miller was using her London home as her second home even though that was the one where her family lived.
That's the problem of many MPs not living in the constituency they represent. They just pretend to, and have their family base in London.

Iam64 Wed 09-Apr-14 08:17:31

After the Olympics, it was often suggested that the government buy some of the athlete accommodation for MP's to use when in London. I resent my hard earned cash being used to support MP's buying in London where house prices are rocketing. It feels like a pension investment to me. It's just wrong. I'd pay MP's twice their current salaries, provide a one bedroom flat for them to live in if their constituencies are out of commuting distance and an exact list of claimable expenses. Public servants are clear what can/can't be claimed, and what the limits are. Why should MP's be treated differently. If MP's choose to live in London, and bring their families to the capital, they can either rent or buy, it's up to them, but I don't want to pay for it.

POGS Wed 09-Apr-14 17:22:30

What do you think about the expenses and 'flipping of homes' that Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper performed. They flipped homes I think it was 3 times in one year. He was Secretary of State for Schools and she was the Housing Minister at the time. They bought a home in Stoke Newington, north London, whilst staying in London to be near work. They exploited the Allowance System to help pay for the Stoke Newongton home valued at the time to be worth £655.000. if I'm not mistake.

Perhaps there should have been a cry out for their resignations at the time. All three parties had their noses in the trough and I would have thought John Mann might have felt it was as appropriate then as it is now to call for resignations.

Look at Hazel Blears, Lord Mandelson, Jacqui Smith, Alistair Darling. Maria Miller was wrong but hells bells there is some hypocrisy coming from Labour.

I think having called for her resignation then that should apply the same to all of them, past and present. If not, why not!!!

I am not defending Maria Miller but I hate the hypocrisy of it all.

Ana Wed 09-Apr-14 17:24:39

I think the rules have changed since the 'flipping' scandal, POGS, but I may be wrong.

Penstemmon Wed 09-Apr-14 18:26:37

It is morally wrong to deliberately set out to wangle as much money as you can out of a allowance system, even if you are withing the rules.

I said this elsewhere the other day: give an annual expenses allowance based on a) distance/travel time from Westminster & Constituency and b) earned and unearned income over and above MP salary. No claims just a set allowance

glassortwo Wed 09-Apr-14 19:05:01

Its a disgrace the way MPs have been given a free hand with their own expenses, here is a petition if you want to sign it, it wouldnt happen in any other business. stop MPs policing their own expenses

POGS Wed 09-Apr-14 21:20:50


I think there have been changes since 2010.

The point I am making is the hypocrisy is astounding. To watch MPs who have also been cleared of wrong doing, as Maria Miller has also been cleared on one of the allegation, sneer and laugh as though they were not tainted makes me sick. Some of them have 'legally conned' the tax payer of greater sums of money than Miller too.

I say ask again, why ask for her resignation but not theirs??

Ana Wed 09-Apr-14 21:50:40

I'm not arguing with your point, POGS, of course they're all hypocrites! But as I've said on another thread, Maria Miller not only over-claimed expenses, but deliberately obstructed the investigation into her case, and her required 'apology' was embarrassing to watch.

To my mind, there's a difference between 'getting away with it' just because you can, deplorable though that is, and being arrogant enough to assume you should be untouchable just because you are in a certain position.

Nonu Wed 09-Apr-14 22:03:33

It is a national scandal that MP"s can police their own expenses, IMO.

Iam64 Thu 10-Apr-14 08:10:33

Have you signed the petition on line to stop MP's policing their own expenses Nonu

glassortwo Thu 10-Apr-14 09:13:20

link to petition
Here is the link again for anyone wanting to sign.

Eloethan Thu 10-Apr-14 10:31:02

I've signed.

gillybob Thu 10-Apr-14 10:51:08

Just signed the petition. Thanks glass. smile

Iam64 Thu 10-Apr-14 12:57:53

thanks for posting the link glass, I promise myself to learn how to do this - one day smile

POGS Thu 10-Apr-14 16:46:57

What is IPSA then. Am I missing something.

rosequartz Thu 10-Apr-14 19:12:18

It's the 'Do you know who I am' syndrome ( ie I am not a pleb, therefore untouchable)

To which the answer is 'I've no idea, why, have you forgotten?'