Parliament, seeing itself as sovereign, is unwilling to submit itself to the kind of financial discipline that the Treasury applies to the rest of Government, but you can at least keep track of its finances here (House of Commons) and here (House of Lords).
We have heard a lot about MP’s expenses recently in terms of the detail with further revelations in this morning’s Telegraph. The total cost of MP’s expenses has risen from £94 million in 2000/1 to £159 million in 2007/8; a rise of 69%. Just last Sunday we heard of Baroness Uddin’s £100K claim for her empty flat in Maidstone. This part of the £122 million running cost of the House of Lords, again the 2007/8 number. This number is up 82% on 2000/1. In addition to these two bills the administration costs of Parliament were £228 million in 2007/8. In total Parliament cost £509 million in 2007/8 up 9% on the previous year and up 36% on 2000/1. Our law makers, 646 MPs and 738 Lords, cost us £370,000 each.
MP’s expenses are a matter for MPs and their reputations depend on how they tackle them. The Lords need to wean themselves off the gravy too. The wider issue for us as taxpayers is that Parliament’s spending is a joke. As any visitor to the lavish Parliamentary estate will attest there is ample scope to cut these budgets. Halving the number of members would be a good start. At the very least we should be able to take £200 million out of these budgets.
Saving id: Parliament
Total saving: £200 million
Traffic light status: TBD
Previous idea for saving: (12) A fairer distribution of UK-wide public spending