« How much should George Osborne reveal on tax and spending plans? | Main | The candidates to be chairman of the National Conservative Convention differ on whether they would communicate with the grassroots through ConservativeHome »

Comments

As I have often said before, the way forward is to give MPs a salary hike to bring them in line with what a CEO or a senior lawyer might earn but as a quid pro quo, abolish the expenses system completely. Problem solved.

Sorry Sally but that doesn't even begin to solve the problem as in effect a Scottish MP would be paid less then a London MP because he or she would have to pay tens of thousands in travel and second home costs.

Also, the idea that you would be able to get a pay rise for MPs at the moment is a triumph of optimism over reality.

Sally Roberts says: "...give MPs a salary hike to bring them in line with what a CEO or a senior lawyer might earn..."

The trouble is that a large number of our MPs simply aren't worth the salaries of CEOs and senior lawyers.

1 - Do away with all expenses apart from running an office (Three members of staff is quite reasonable, assuming two are paid 20k and one is paid 30k, 80k staffing allowance covering for interns & people covering sick leave / maternity leave / etc is reasonable).

2 - and travel / second homes - with the stipulation that at the next general election, every constituency has a vote on 'Whether your constituency is sufficiently far enough away from Westminster, London for your MP to claim travel expenses and a second home accomodation'. Reasonable minded voters who commute every day into London from the South East, say, will believe their MP should pay the same rail fares as themselves - although nobody in Glasgow will expect their MP to commute every day. If an MP wants to, they can ofcourse buy their own house out of their own pocket.

3- in the long run, MP numbers should be cut to around 500 and all MPs should get a payrise from 60k to about 80k or so, but not now in the depths of a recession.

I disagree with Sally. Backbench MPs are not part of the executive branch, the party whip system ensures that they rarely have to use their own judgement on voting and are not under the same pressure as senior lawyers and CEOs. The fact that 100 or so can take on additional full-time ministerial jobs demonstrates that they aren't occupied to the extent of the senior private sector equivalents referred to.

Their current salary excluding expenses isn't far off how much they should be paid in my opinion. People aren't attracted to become MPs because of the money - so arguments along those lines are moot. A hotel allowance for the few nights they spend in London would prevent them building up property portfolios at our expense.

The public sector (MPs included) needs to shrunk and with far more cost control.

Absolutely right Tim. I'm delighted you feel as I do about this issue. There is a strong anti politician feeling around at the moment and I think Cameron would benefit by taking this issue head on. MPs are going to have to take some pain whether it's with their expenses or pay or probably both. The longer they hide from this the worse it will become. It would be good if David Cameron and the Tory Party recognise this first, it would also be the right thing to do.

This should be the Tories' number one priority once they come into power. It might seem like navel-gazing but it would give a Tory government the moral authority to cut salaries elsewhere in the public sector.

It's a shame you are not still inside CCO Tim giving this advice.

Tim, i think this is spot on. When asked about it Brown simply said 'my priority is the economy and fighting terrorism'.....it was ludicrous! He simply had no political instincts at all! At the moment the only political issue people are talking about is MPs expenses, whilst i'm sure many Tory MPs have been abusing their expenses, if Cameron can position himself on the right side of this debate on conversations in pubs and homes across the country, the party WILL follow, the commons will HAVE to follow and at a general election the country will WANT to follow.

MPs should get a salary of £150,000. Any office and administration costs should come out of this. So efficiency is the key if an MP wants to take home more pay!

There should also be £10,000 paid per 100 miles outside the M25 a MPs constituency is located. There should be a skeleton pool of House of Commons Civil Servants to act as an admin support team for MPs, of which MPs have no say in the appointment of.

I agree that this should be a priority issue for D.C. There are a massive number of votes on the line over this issue. If D.C. can convince the public that he really means to clean up the Westminster Garvy Train, he will have secured many floating voters who are hartley sick of the perceived corruption of the creative interpretation of over generous allowances.

I think DC himself called it, 'real political leadership'. Let's do it! Right Now!

1. GBP100,000 max.
2. One return journey from constituency to Westminster per week, max. (plus travel expenses for any other parliamentary business, all receipts handed in and checked.
3. No second homes (one government owned building in London - a glorified travel lodge will do)
4. For non ministerial (or shadow) MPs only one person for staff in Westminster (paid via central funds) and one person for staff (vetted: family memebrs only allowed if they fit the normal criteria for office work) in constituency
5. meals paid only on parliamentary business plus invited guests meals only: no personal food, furniture, films, electrical goods etc.

END.

Agreed this is #1 in the man in the pub's mind.

IMHO MP's salaries should be pegged to a London civil servants grade. That means newly elected MP's would be paid less than those with 20 years service. I would start the grading with a back bench MP = SEO and work from there to the Chancellor, Forn Sec, Home Sec and Prime minister, together with the 4 oppo's on the oppositon bench receiving the same as the most senior civil servants.

With expenses being approved by the cabinet office via the PPS, then all of this trousering would go.

MP's would be reembursed for legitimate travel expenses and could be put up in a parliamentary hotel when they are in London, there are a few suitable developments along the Horseferry road that could easily be purchased for this purpose.

Were DC to float this idea, he would get an instant boost in his standing with the general public. If he went further as to say that any MP caught with their hand in the till in the future would be fired, then he could look forward to a happy June election

Tim is right this important but instead if focusing ion those who are abusing the system we should be creating a system of finance and salary that allows the poorest person, with a family the MP wants to see during the week, sitting for a seat outside London. If the system works for them then it should work for everyone.

My fear is in the current climate we will end up with a system that discriminates against just such a person and their family.

I live in Hertsmere, 14 miles from Westminster and was horrified to learn that my MP, James Clappison has claimed 15k per annum in housing allowances. There is a train from Euston that takes 14 minutes to get to the centre of the constituency. Driving takes 40 minutes tops.

MP's must be treated the same as the rest of us. If your work keeps you away from home then you are allowed to claim for a hotel and subsistence. MP's should have an overnight allowance of say £120 which would cover a decent hotel and breakfast. Travel expenses should be reimbursed as used. End of. Hundreds of thousands of people do it every day.

Offices can be funded centrally with a £150k cap so that costs are paid by Parliamentary authorities not MP's.

Finally you put someone in charge who has no axe to grind and will keep MP's (and Speakers) in line.

Finally, MP's current expenses should be taxed as benefits in kind as they would for the rest of us.

Salaries ought to return to their previous linkage with civil service salaries including London weighting.
Backbenchers - Senior Civil Service band 1 (£56-116k)
Junior Ministers - SCS 1A (£56-127k)
Ministers - SCS 2 (£81-160k)
Senior Ministers SCS 3 (£100-205k)
Cabinet Minsters & PM - Permanent Secretary scale (£140-273k)

On election, all MPs to start at the median entry point for SCS 1 but with the possibility of increases to the starting rate dependent on objectively definable criteria (eg fixed points for education and professional qualifications). Annual increments up the scale in line with median increments for length of service obtained by SCS. Promotion to ministerial level puts candidate at similar point in the higher scale to where they were pre-promotion (ie if a new MP goes straight into the Cabinet they get paid at the bottom of the SCS 3 scale).

Staff should only be provided for non-Party activity and should be civil servants, paid and recruited openly according to published civil service scales. A single experienced PA/Adminstrator in each of constituency office and Parliament should be sufficient to cover such activities - any other staff (eg researchers) should be Party funded. Ministers have benefit of larger private office in department already.

Maximum accommodation allowance calculated by reference to mean rate for single room in business standard hotel in Central London multiplied by number of days on which Parliament sitting, actual expenses (receipted) only. Married couples accommodation allowance shared and based on double/twin room. Accommodation allowance only available at all where the notional rate per night exceeds cost of black cab to MP's constituency.

Travel only second class between constituency and Parliament while Parliament is sitting, no allowance during recesses. No travel expenses for travel between London home and Parliament other than where Parliament sitting outside normal hours.

Reduced number of MPs and Ministers. MPs who are also MSPs or AMs to have their salary and benefits reduced so that the aggregate of MP/Ministerial pay and their pay from the devolved assemblies is no greater than it would have been had they been only a Westminster MP.

I disagree with Sally.

Having met quite a few MPs from all parties in the current House of Commons, many of the ones I have met [including ministers] are of a very low calibre. They are certainly far removed from CEO/Senior lawyer standard, and were unexpectedly swept in on the pro- Blair landslide in 1997.

They all have a choice. MPs should be paid a flat salary of £64,000 plus basic office expenses. If Phillip Hollobone can manage, so can the other 653. If they don't like it- do something else for a living.

P.S:

Could not help but smile as the predictable, immature own goal by ConHome poster boy Mr Hannan over the NHS. Labour have gone to town on his remarks today. He is the Private Pike of the Tory Party- silly boy.

Whilst I think 'clearing his diary' maybe a little extreme, David Cameron should be spending considerable time on this and ensuring that the type of headlines we have seen over the past few years cannot be repeated under a Conservative Government.

Now reading Cameron's article this last weekend he seems to be grasping the concept that the only way to end this debacle, once and for all, is to implement wholesale reform of MPs remuneration. Whilst, I wouldn't say the proposals he mentioned were sufficient on their own, they certainly were on the right track. Consequently, I hope that when the final package for expense reform is unveiled, it actually achieves the aim of killing this as an issue.

There are far more importants things to focus on than a politicians terms and conditions of service and it is an affront to the population of this country that the Government are dragging their heals (to hide their own guilt?) in the way that they are.

Mr Cameron is completely wrong to focus his fire on ministers. There is no comparison between being an MP and being a minister. Being a minister is an exceptionally tough and demanding job, I would say beyond nearly any private sector position.

The idea that these grace and favour apartments are dens of luxury is wrong too. The flats in Admiralty House are very odd as accommodation. The bottom two are state apartments with one or two bedrooms and the top one is a poky set of rooms in an attic. They are needed for security and closeness to ministerial offices and parliament.

Ministers should be paid much more, MPs should be encouraged to have second jobs.

The belief has somehow crept in that the people we elect are gifted with a superior intellect, are generously giving us their services on the cheap and could earn more in the outside world. Very few of them could, I`m afraid, and the expenses scandal, not just on the Labour side, has shown that many of them have poor moral standards.
They are paid enough.


Come on David,
Propose no second home allowances and replace with overnight stay in Hotel / (Dedicated facility near parliament it would pay for itself.)
All MP's expenses to go through the Tax Payers Alliance Body reviewed monthly with statements for each MP avaliable on line (real time)
All MPs to have a pay freeze and Ministers a 5% cut.
Simple and Effective - Job Done

@Edward Huxley

Enjoyed your letter to today's Telegraph.

Expenses are being abused. When first instigated they were not bent to the level they are manipulated now. Dare I say that Conservatives were less greedy, note less, than their Labour troughers.

You are so correct on this. David Cameron would be wise to maintain a proactive role in securing a solution to this festering issue.

Brown and his ministers are ducking and diving while the public wants immediate action. The nauseating appearance of the Home Secretary grovelling her way round the studios today, is simply part of their spin operation.

I suspect many MP's would welcome the comparison with a CEO or a senior lawyer, but I fear that is a misjudgement of their role and ability.

Tim is right that this needs to be a top priority for Cameron. Mistrust of all politicians is growing rapidly, due to both the abuse of expenses and the view that politicians are overpaid, yet have led the country into ruin. Labour may have unleashed the 'court of public opinion' on the bankers but it has turned around and attacked them now.

This current hatred of politicians is corrosive and will destroy any chance the Conservatives have of turning the country around in the next parliament, unless something dramatic is done now.

We are in a recession. Much of the private sector is taking pay cuts. Cameron should identify the overall cost of government (e.g. MP wages, expenses, pensions, etc.) and pledge to cut it by at least 15%. Exactly how this is done, e.g. cutting the number of MPs, is not so important but doing something to show that they are in touch with the public pain is.

Our politicians have failed us and as Brown likes to say about bankers 'There should be no reward for failure.'

Sally,
I'd give MP's the same salary as CEO's if we had the same annual opportunity to vote them out and replace them with a new one (like shareholders do), but we don't.

An MP with a large majority is basically safe in that role until they snuff it barring any scandal etc.

The lower salary reflects the enormous job security. There is no comparison between a private sector business leader and an MP.

An MP's salary is about right. The problem is they are abusing their expenses because they personally believe they deserve more.

However, perhaps it is time for open primaries in every seat, with the local area itself setting what they consider a fair salary for their MP. Localism in action!

Thanks Tim.

Whilst MPs' allowances are long overdue for reform, millionaire Cameron is on very shakey ground as being the dictator of what sort of replacement system would be fair. I am sure it would suit him to return to the days when only the rich could afford to enter politics. It took a Labour government to open all this up for public scrutiny and then to be found sadly lacking. The Tories kept all these things secret for decades and are equally at fault.

Pat49 sounds like an opponent but there is a warning in what she says. Cameron is going to be very vulnerable to the idea that he is unaffected by the pain a Conservative govt will by necessity impose on others. Ideally a more ordinary person in terms of bankground would be his chancellor of the exchequer.

A history of Parliamentary sleaze would raise the question of why ELizabeth Filkin seemed to catch so many more Labour MPs in her nets than other parties and eventually packed it in in 2001. Why has the Liebour Government so hounded her successors and tried to turn the job into a part-time role?
I would suggest that this Govt and its merry troops have stretched every convention of behaviour well beyond its limits.
Gordon Brown is unfit for the purpose of overseeing any review of expenses as he presides over a dungheap of corrupt and self-serving incompetents who have become so seduced by the trappings of power that they no longer know when they lie or tell the truth, - to them if they say it is so, it is so.
David Cameron cannot effectively drive such a review at present because as Opposition, you do not have power, but he should be working vigorously on a comprehensive review of Parliamentary Expenses Theory working on the principles of simplicity, clarity and transparency so the grey areas of discretion are minimised. He already seems to be going for HoC to provide Group Services which I think will clear up the bulk of the real abuses/confusions.
Good luck to him and may the day arrive as soon as it can. The UK, and its Parliament first and foremost, are just twisting uselessly in the wind in the dog days of this shoddy embarrassment of a Govt that has betrayed its own ideals and aspirations at least as much as it has the fabric of UK political and public life with greed, incompetency, corruption, extension of State Power at the expense of individual liberty and weakness in dealings with foreign states.

Cameron's wealth is irrelevant.

#1 MP's get a salary. A decent salary.
#2 MP's also get reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses for performing their role.

#2 is *not* a supplement to #1.

If MP's think they are underpaid then they should argue their case to the electorate or step aside for someone willing to struggle off 60K+ a year to step in.

What we have now is the little piggies thinking they deserve more, know the electorate won't want to give them more, so they are stealing it by abusing the expenses system.

Well, having read all these comments it would seem that there is little support for my point of view and perhaps that will be the same from the general public! Nevertheless it does not change my view. Perhaps I am a little biased having worked for a Member of Parliament, whom I respected greatly (and still do). I am saddened by the fact that the decent and hard-working souls are being tarnished by the "bad apples" and depressed by the punitive view taken towards them all.
I do believe that the decent ones are worth a salary commensurate with someone senior in the non-political world. Those that are dishonest should simply not be there in the first place and DC's first task must be to say that anyone found to be dishonest in our Party will be unceremoniously ejected and possibly subjected to criminal proceedings. He has made a good start with the overhaul of MEP expenses and now needs urgently to turn his attention to Westminster. The good name of our Members of Parliament needs to be restored.

How many CEOs and senior lawyers have you worked for Sally? Does the average MP frequently expect to work a seven day week, work until 4 am, commute home, get hardly any sleep and be back in the office for 8 am to commit his firm or client to complex issues; do they only take a few weeks holiday every year and not be surprised to have cancel their family holiday at the last moment. Do they get personally sued for making mistakes?

"How many CEOs and senior lawyers have you worked for Sally?"

Actually quite a few, bill!

Well, Sally, then you surprise me in thinking MPs are equivalent.

I am full of surprises, bill :-)

Given that there is always big competition to be nominated as candidate in all parties, especially for winnable seats, and that the conditions of the job are known by those standing logically there should not be any discussion post an election on Members' salaries and conditions. The trouble is that the vast majority of M.Ps on every side now have never held a proper job outside politics, have never been any type of success in the real world and who no one, in their right mind, running any business would think of employing in any responsible or important position. The old saying is that if you pay peanuts then all you get are monkeys - the Nation is forking out far more for a bunch of mediocrities all seemingly on the make. Is it any wonder the prestige of politicians has fallen so low? The answer is for selection committees to only consider mature established candidates who can demonstrate a strong, lengthy and successful record in a different career.

I believe that it is important to get this matter settled before the next election, partly because, if 'the court of public opinion' holds sway, MPs are in for a nasty shock, as the gravy train should be about to cease and some would-be MPs might change their minds about standing.

Amgelo Basu at 14.58 sets out an excellent model for an MPs' salaries and expenses, which deserves serious consideration.

Not all politicians are like that JS, though some in all parties most definitely are. The rise of the professional politician is in my view a bad thing. Making the job so financially attractive is also a bad thing. Remember people like John Redwood and Archie Norman were CEO's of big companies they most certainly didn't enter politics for the money.They are more motivated by either public service or power.
Irrespective of all that it is absolutely politically impossible to offer MPs significant pay rises as Sally suggests in this climate.Nor do I think it the right to do at any time.

We've all had a good chuckle/rant over porn.films, bath plugs, third homes etc....
But, behind all this brouhaha lies a very serious point; we have reached a very dangerous time for democracy and freedom in this country. We are ruled by a near-totalitarian government at home, and across the Channel is the EU intent on absorbing us into its vice-like grip. The next General Election will be absolutely vital.
We need the electorate to be totally engaged; voters need to be listening , thinking, deciding on their country's future. At the moment, more and more are distancing themselves from politics. I have heard activists with fifty plus years of political involvement questioning their commitment.
Reform of MPs pay and expenses is urgent. Into the current vacuum of indifference will step political parties and systems that will change this country irreversibly.


Reform may be urgent, but it is very important to get it right. And I would watch Labour like a hawk in how it attempts a solution. I am sure they will try tricks like they did with Party Funding to propose a Labour-serving solution. The Tories must very alert to this, and have a good rebuttal team in place if required. I would prefer in a way this issue to be addressed by a Tory Party in power on the grounds the MEP expenses work sets a good example. There are risks that the Party in power when expenses are reformed will be blamed for any unintended consequences but I think Labour's history of unintended consequences is frightening and I don't want any more.

Sally Roberts:

Being 'decent and hard-working' are both admirable characteristics but in my view that is not enough in this day and age.

Anger has boiled over at the abuses over expenses only partly because they are an affront to public sensibilities. Those abuses would not be viewed with quite the same ferocity if it weren't for the fact that there is an underlying perception that this Government has failed (can they break anything else?) and along with it Parliament and that so many MPs are just not up to the job because they lack the natural ability, training and experience to do the job.

It is as much a question of providing value for money as anything else.

Now, I have no doubt that the greatest offender is the Labour Party who are probably carrying at least half of their ranks but having seen so many ill-considered, wrongly focussed, dogmatic and superficial arguments put forward on Conhome by PPC's, MPs and MEPs alike, it is clear that there is a deficit of the appropriate talent within the political ranks in general and in in some cases a complete lack of the right perspective.

One can only conclude that there are systemic problems with the way our political parties work and how they choose their candidates (nepotism and celebrity obsession come to mind).

These days it is not enough to have done your time as a researcher, it is not enough that you know the right people or have been to the right school, it is not enough to have got a decent degree at University, it is not even enough to have some specific previous relevant working experience in a particular sector.

MPs need to have a wide range of general business management skills to make practical judgements and if they haven't accrued them in their previous experience then they must be made to attain them before they can be considered suitable to as MPs.

Whilst the Conservatives may finally be addressing the abuse of remuneration privileges in Brussels (if greater transparency can be considered as slowing the gravy train?) and in Westminster, there is as yet little evidence that they are addressing the underlying question of meritocracy in selection and producing sufficient candidates of the necessary appropriate quality. Furthermore, what are they doing to ensure those candidates are prepared for the role they are expected to undertake?

Now if political parties address the shortfall in talent and skills and take a more profession approach to selecting candidates and begin to move away from Brown's car crash dogmatic politics then perhaps just perhaps people might look a tad more benevolently on politicians remuneration.

"there is as yet little evidence that they are addressing the underlying question of meritocracy in selection and producing sufficient candidates of the necessary appropriate quality. Furthermore, what are they doing to ensure those candidates are prepared for the role they are expected to undertake?"

Now that is a fair point, William Blake's Ghost, and I don't disagree with those who say that there should be improvements made to our method of selecting and training candidates. Perhaps that should be a topic of a separate thread?

The fact that Cameron is so slow to criticise abuses (and yes I know they are all 'within the rules') by Brown, Darling, Smith, Beckett, McNulty,et al probably means that the Tories are as bad but that the details have not yet come out. He should therefore take the moral high ground and state that he will withdraw the whip from any members of his front bench abusing the system albeit 'within the rules'.
Then attack those government ministers as strongly as possible.
As to how to resolve the various issues:- I see no justification for increasing the pay of MPs. There is no shortage of people willing to do the job so on the basis of supply and demand no increase is justified.
MPs should lose all control of the right to set their own terms and conditions.
Expenses for agreed costs should be paid only on production of a receipt.
Government should provide living accommodation for those with a constituency more than 75 minutes travelling time from Westminster. Many of us make such journeys as part of our normal working day. The standard of accommodation should be the same as provided to army officers in barracks

I couldn't agree more, Tim.

In opposition we are mostly toothless. David Cameron should seize this issue, vital for the reasons you’ve given, because it’s one where, even in opposition, we can actually make a difference.

There is nothing to stop Conservatives being the party of ethical expenses. And while Parliament's agreement would be best for the country, in our narrow interests it works very well if we set ourselves apart while Gordon quietly turns a blind eye to his MPs’ expenses-for-profit culture.

Malcolm Dunn@17.22
"The rise of the professional politician is a bad thing." I completely agree with you - that was the real point I was trying to make.
Politics should not be a career in itself.

Mark Fulford is right. We keep saying that Cameron can't announce conservative policies because Labour will steal them. Well this one area where he could announce a policy and hope that Labour will steal it.

Agreed he cannot do much about salaries on his own, but what is to stop the Party leader from saying unilaterally "We conservatives will play by the following rules....". and then itemise precisely what a conservative MP can and cannot claim on expenses. He's already said that about grace and favour houses.
The other parties would be shamed into following suit.

I was somewhat surprised when Ken Clarke told the Andrew Marr show on Sunday:

"But now we have an exaggerated public view that they're all thieves,
they're all rogues, they're all lining their own pockets. I now get
more modest because I get shocked by what comes out. So two thirds of
them, I'm quite sure are doing nothing improper at all - at least two
thirds, I hope."

It is nice for an MP to admit that up to one third of MPs are doing
something improper. What I want to know is what exactly are these,
shall we say 200 MPs doing that Ken thinks improper, and what does he,
or Mr Cameron propose to do about it? Surely we will not just ignore
this blatant 'improper' behaviour?

I agree totally with Sally. It may not be popular but its the right thing to do.

"I agree totally with Sally. "

I am mortified! :-(

I watched Derek Draper trot out the nonsense that members of parliament are worth higher salaries in order to do away with expenses claims.In my view the current bunch on the labour side especially are considerably overpaid already.

I find it incredible to imagine Yvette Cooper for example being renumerated as she is now within the private sector.She could obviously bring the considerable forecasting brilliance of the treasury economic team to bear in a leading finance directorship don't you think?


There seems to be an assumption that CEO's don't submit expenses claims. I think this is false.
There are and always will be business-incurred expenses. The issue with MPs is that they work in an expenses regime that is very loosely defined and monitored and they have been caught taking advantage of those loose definitions and monitoring.
One hidden expense in the salary-for-expenses "swap" is that the pensionable bit of salary will rise quite significantly. This is what I mean by watch those Labour liggers like hawks.

The Solution is to tie MP's remuneration to the number of votes they receive at election time.
They would then have to work for their money.
Sigh!
Nah, let the clowns in Brussels do that.

Apologies to Dan the Opposer.

David Cameron should make a statement that he will include a commitment in the manifesto for the next election to reform MPs expenses - and promise to stick to it. That way MPs elected on the Conservative ticket will have to vote for the reform bill when it comes before the House. That would be a vote winner.

My view is that MPs living outwith [lovely Scottish word!] a certain radius of Parliament should be given an overnight allowance. Support staff should be employed on term contracts by the parliamentary authorities. That will cut out the Jackie Smith type situation where her hubby seems to be raking in £40k a year to be a house husband. Office expenses should be claimed in the way that anyone working for a private employer would claim - on production of receipts.

As for Sally's comment that MPs should be paid a salary on par with a CEO, sorry but the majority of MPs, particularly those in the Labour party, are not of that calibre. I have a good knowledge of the requirements of the labour market and on the basis of ability some MPs wouldn't get paid in brass washers - as they say in my neck of the woods.

PS Jackie Smith was terrible on the Today programme this morning. Not only did she clealry believe she hadn't done anything wrong she obviously couldn't even understand why anyone should dare to think she had.

"There seems to be an assumption that CEO's don't submit expenses claims. I think this is false."

If they didn't the company would have the Revenue jumping on it. And don't forget CEOs are taxed on anything deemed to be a benefit in kind - including for example BUPA subs. Apparently, MPs don't pay tax on money they claim as their second home allowance.

Dorothy Wilson:
Really???

BUPA subs are an optional extra employees "choose", I put in quotes because most never challenge it.
ACA is a lot less clear. If you need it to perform your job, you need it. It is not an optional extra charge. What is open to dispute is at what travel-time (I prefer this to distance) it should be applicable.
If you qualify on travel-time applicability, it is fully business-incurred and not taxable, if not, it is a benefit-in-kind.

The point of my previous post is that CEOs claim expenses and I am most surprised at anybody who says they don't. BUPA etc are subsidised perks, not expenses.

In the world of politics, should subsidised perks such as BUPA be part of the package is a discussion that so far has not been part of the thread and you are right to bring it out however inadvertently.

All expenses should be banned.
UKIP MPs would be squeeky clean.

Would they? Haven't noticed so far in the MEPs. Of course they would locally, there is just the one adn not elected neiver. Will he make it through at the next election?

No, no, no... politicians in this country have lectured poor countries for decades on the inmorality of hiring close relatives if one works for a public body (nepotism)... and poor countries complied. Claiming expenses of the kind awarded to Jacqui Smith and those given to our own Eric Pickles are unjust and frankly unforgiveable. So, to me, our own people have failed us. Like many people e.g. David Davis I'm a tory by choice and not because of my background. So, please, please, can we find new representatives and show boldeness if we are to secure a conservative-inspired UK in years to come?

Absolutely right that DC ought to give this a high priority. We need a CONSERVATIVE policy that WILL be adopted (immediately) by the Tory gov't that we all hope to see after June 2010. There's no need for a cosy agreement among DC, Brown and Clegg; in fact, that would probably be the worst possible outcome, both in fact and in the public perception. And, if existing Tory MPs (front- or back-bench) don't like the policy, they have plenty of time to seek alternative employment before the election! (Similarly, any PPCs who find it distasteful can take their skills elsewhere - there's no shortage of willing volunteers to take their places).

It's nice to see that there might be something higher priority for Conservatives than keeping a pledge on IHT made irrelevant to the masses by the destruction of asset worth (homes in particular) by Labour. I was beginning to wonder when Clarke's sensible comments about pledges having to be reassessed in light of economic meltdown had to be quickly "qualified".

This article is on the right track but even in its criticism it is not hard enough and in its objective it fixes on one thread of a larger multi-faceted problem.

" Most of our MPs are decent, public-spirited citizens ..."? Well let's hope so but you know what? Before QT the other week, many would have listed Eric Pickles in their number and he was trashed so the measure used may not bear up to public scrutiny. What's more, people expect the good ones to have something loud to say about the bad ones. This is one of those issues where you have to denounce wrong doing. Being silent condones bad behaviour. If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem. Pop Quiz: How many Conservative MPs deserve the inflation beating pay-rise and pension top-up? ... WRONG! it was a trick question. No MP deserves anything more. Collectively, Government & Opposition have just led us into the worst boom and bust in living memory. Why would we reward failure?

For those that want more said against Labour, that right was taken from you by the last Tory administration. The Tory party is the party of sleaze. It doesn't matter how bad Labour get, it just reminds people how sleazy Tories were. The fact that some Tories still think that the crime is getting caught shows there is still some way to go. No, the only way for new Conservatives is to be good and to lead by example. Transparency will reveal wrong doers - let others do the judging, for now at least.

Expenses and pay are not issues by and of themselves. The real issue is a lack of trust in politics. Lying, spinning, obfuscating, covering up, keeping secrets, being feckless, not being accountable, generally serving themselves (using politics to build careers outside) - the list is long and tedious. Stealing from us by expenses is just rubbing salt into an already open wound.

I hope Cameron isn't being 'clever' by picking off one piece of this thread. Maybe he sees that it's a long way to May 2010 and he can keep pricking this thorn in Labour's side. Well if that's the case then that's just politics, not leadership. Otherwise it's just plain stupid and disconnected.

I do agree, clear the diary, fixing trust is a high priority and from the list above there's a lot to do.

On expenses, forget consensus, redefine the rules, start living by them and declare any past behaviour that doesn't comply under general amnesty. Late declarations or new offenses mean instant dismissal - zero tolerance. Start delivering something meaningful then you can talk about pay review.

As for the rest of rebuilding trust, I'm afraid that's little things like root and branch reform of both houses, transparent government, and reformed public institutions accountable to the people not government. Now, if you want to show off and actually give the UK a sense of purpose and engage them to fix the problems then its the full Social Justice agenda I'm afraid. Right down to a new written constitution, where the rights (and responsibilities) of citizens and their servants are plain to see, plain to understand; poetic and inspirational words that articulate ideals that resonate up and down the land in school assemblies where future generations learn the joys of freedom and the vigilance and service required to preserve it.

The good news for those hungry for policies is that there is no need to wait. Plenty broken that needs fixing right now and no need for full disclosure from Government. In some ways, it's a blessing that there's time to devise this stuff before the election - You wouldn't want to govern without it. Just look at the almighty mess Labour have made doing just that.

"All expenses should be banned.
UKIP MPs would be squeeky clean." - UKIP Defacator

Apart from the fact that there won't be any, your erratic spelling creates an accurate impression of your "party".

@SuperBlue,

You are the worst offender at responding to trolls.

I've warned you privately and you've ignored me. Please keep threads on topic.

Most of our MPs are decent, public-spirited citizens

If so, they why do they let the corrupt sit amongst them?

If an MP has the ability of a successful CEO, then they should immediately move into the private sector and be that CEO -- running a successful company, providing employment for workers is far more important than sitting in the HoC doing whatever the whip tells you.

MPs are already overpaid for what they do. Expenses should be paid as they are incurred wholly, necessarily and exclusively for the performance of their parliamentry duties.

MPs should have a contract of employment - and that contract of employment should be between them and their constituents.

The second home allowance should be stopped and replaced with a daily accommodation allowance when Parliament is in session. Please note that this year Parliament will only sit for 126 days. This allowance can be based on a three/four star hotel block booking discounted contract rate. Meal allowances can be issued against properly submitted expenses. Transport costs also claimed using appropriate receipts for all claims.This would be a more honest and an open way to claim expenses.

It all boils down to the simple fact that far too many of our politicians are untrustworthy and dishonest.

Here we all are, trying to formulate rules to keep our lawmakers honest!

Politicians, in every country, have always been corrupt. In the UK it was tolerable until we drew close to Europe and acquired the more virulent form of the disease from them.

It is now so ingrained that even the wealthier MPs, and there are quite a few on them on all sides, filch from the public purse.

The comments to this entry are closed.

#####here####

Categories

ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:
      Name:
      Email:
      Subscribe    
      Unsubscribe 

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker