Wednesday, October 14, 2009

MP's Expenses Some of the Excuses

There is some moaning and whining from Members of Parliament over having to pay back some of their expenses. While all three of the main party leaders are asking their members to pay up. Here are some of the most ridiculous soundbites I have gathered this morning.

Colin Challen, Labour MP for Morley and Rothwell is quoted in the Times as saying:

"If Parliament can sweep away with the principle of justice for MPs, then the people should watch out — this Parliament could do away with the principles of justice in other areas too."

Whoops rather poor choice of words looking at some of the civil liberties his Labour party have taken away from the rest of us in the last 12 years.

While retrospective caps of £2000 a year on cleaning and £1000 a year on gardening have been imposed one Tory pointed out that a similar cap was not imposed on mortgage interest and actually points out his own party's millionaire leaders Cameron and Osborne who have claimed up to £20,000.

"Cameron and Osborne have managed to get very large mortgages subsidised under this system and there are no questions about that."

One Scottish MP countered this limited cap saying:

"Some MPs have good reason to feel aggrieved. It also seems a bit unfair that Labour MPs who pay their cleaners a fair wage are more likely to get caught out, while Tory millionaires are getting away with charging taxpayers for their mammoth mortgages on their country estates."
However, the Sir Thomas Legg's audit has already been shown to be prone to throwing up some errors, the Times lists the four following examples

Bob Laxton, Labour MP for Derby North, questioned Sir Thomas’s competence. "A colleague was told she had to pay £5,000 back. When they checked the receipt, she was told it was a mistake. She is planning to make an official complaint because it is total incompetence."

Julia Goldsworthy, Lib Dem MP for Falmouth and Camborne, said that she had been asked to clarify mortgage statements for 2004-2005 — when she had not even been elected.

Matthew Taylor, her party colleague for Truro and St Austell, said: "I have been asked to repay £180 for a BT bill claimed twice which I had already informed the fees office about. There seems to be quite a lot of errors."

Norman Baker, Lib Dem MP for Lewes, said that he had been asked for more information on mortgage interest payments. "The reason he’s got no information is I don’t have a mortgage. It strikes me this is a bit of a rush job. You wonder whether you have trust in the system."

There also appears to be a number of the letters seeking clarification over documentation that the fees office has lost. This is an office in a building that often requests companies to hold financial records for seven years has lost its own expenses in the space of five!

The problem is that there are some genuine grievances about some of the contents of some of the letters, but with those who have been caught and asked to pay moaning the others who are genuinely seeking to rectify errors are going to get tarred with the same brush. That appears to be the shame in what some of the loudest moaners are doing. Somehow our law makers threaten court action which should be the last port of call before trying consultation, clarification and mediation first.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails