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I don't underestimate Gordon's political malice.
But Conservatives should remember that the Home Counties are populated by thousands of people who get up and go to work in London every morning - and pay their own rail fares, etc.

I am pleased to see that Cameron has concerns regarding the "daily allowance". This allowance would be vast, in the Lords it is £300.

MPs get paid to do their job, why should they get an allowance on top of that simply for turning up?

The allowance would also be open to abuse as it is in the Lords and the European Parliament, where Peers and MEPs sign in to get the allowance and then go straight home.

Biggest scandal is still pensions.

The final salary scheme should end for all MPs at the end of this parliament. Accrued rights would be preserved, but a new, money purchase scheme should be set up from the start of the new parliament for all MPs and parliamentary staff.

Only then will MPs have the moral authority to impose the same on the rest of the public sector and at least cap the current liabilities.

Daily allowance for MPs? Just like the allowance for MEPs where many were filmed on a Friday morning in Brussels, with their luggage,signing in for the day then disappearing to the airport to go home!Cameron has previously pointed out the potential for abuse as in the Euro Parliament.

Lets hope they can get cross party agreement soon on the bulk of these proposals. But Cameron must not be so draconian that he restricts potential future MPs to having an enormous private income like he has himself before they can contemplate public life - that really would unacceptable.

MPs should be subject to the same tax and expenses regime as the rest of us. Their pension arrangements also need revisiting because they are out of line even by the standards of private sector final salary schemes.

So they expect a daily allowance for turning up to work, paid in addition to salary and the (far too generous) pension. I wonder which planet it is that our political class inhabit?

MPs be paid a modest salary of not more than twice the national average or about £50K, expenses for visiting and staying overnight in London (against receipt as is normal to keep HMRC happy), be provided with the services of a HofC paid secretary and a well equipped and generously staffed HofC library.

That is all! (they should make their own pension arrangements).

Ministers (there should be far fewer of these), who do, or should do, a full time job, should be paid about twice the salary of an MP, Cabinet Ministers three times and the PM four times (i.e. £200K). Their pensions should be tied to that of the Civil Service but ALL inflation linking of pensions should go (to give our masters an incentive to keep inflation low).

No-one in the public service, other than the PM but including all those employed by government agencies and local authorities, should be pad more than £150K and this limit should stay whatever the rate of inflation but be reduced if there is deflation as an incentive to keep our currency stable.

The timing is unreal. One day before what will most likely be the most horrible budget this side of the war.

He refused to make any decisions ahead of the reviews when both Cameron and Clegg were calling for them and now he has the barefaced cheek to present their ideas as his own without consultation.

I suppose one good outcome will be that he can no longer use the "wait until the review is concluded" answer to questions at PMQs now he's blatantly brought this out to distract attention away from the budget.

Of course the daily allowance is only effective if the rate is sufficiently low. However, some papers are suggesting based on previous proposals that it could be £170 per day.

Having checked the Parliamentary Calendar it seems Parliament is 'open' for 201 days during the 2008/09 sessions. That would mean that MP's could pocket around £10,000 more from this proposal!

Alternatively, MPs only have to turn up for around 140 days to maintain their current 23k windfall and we wouldn't know what it was being spent on.

Only if the rate is say £100 would it effectively reduce this expense. If they don't it's just another gravy train con-trick just like the similar extortions in the HoL and European Parliament.

Keep an eye on the rate of the allowance....!

So Cameron's been ahead of the game again! Well done DC!

There could be some point in having a daily attendance allowance, if basic salaries were lower.

However, I am more in favour of their having a daily subsistence allowance, instead of the second home allowance, for the occasions when it was absolutely necessary for them to stay in London overnight - on parliamentary business!

I sick of Cameron calling everything Brown does 'a U turn' or a 'disater'. Brown is bad - we get it.

Yup good for DC. I note what you say about outer London MPs Jonathan and no doubt Brown is hoping that some of them will cause Cameron problems.I really hope they don't because it will be game,set and match Cameron otherwise.
Brown has handled this affair very badly and Cameron (and Clegg to be fair) have handled it well.

Rose, but this is a 'U-turn'. It's a great, big, stinking U-turn. What else is he supposed to call it when that's precisely what it is?

We proposed the reforms simple as. Now we must ensure that they are made and this is not dusted under the carpet by the yahoo's.
We need our politicians to get real and realise how surveillance we have become. There are less and less hiding places for grubby secrets. Should these reforms raise objections we should be looking closely into the affairs of the raiser. Isn't that what MI6 is up to in Her Majesty name. The people demand that that her majesty's government kill the sleaze dead. Further the people demand that her majesty's preeminence be fully restored.

Without receipts the daily allowance is actually a LOOSENING of the rules. It will be subject to widespread abuse much like what is seen in Brussels.

Much better a maximum daily limit on overnight expenses that MUST be backed up with receipts + standard class travel expenses (eg train, plane depending on distance between constituency and Westminster).

Is it just a coincidence that this has been announced just before the Budget with a vote being taken next week, just after the Budget?

Hmm, I think it has been arranged as a distraction from a very unpopular Budget.

I am not convinced that having staff employed by the HoC is a good idea at all. In the future another regime as odious as the Bliar/Brown one will find ways of putting pressure on such staff to the detriment of their duty to the MP they work for.

Brown could make a start by repaying all the second home allowances he has claimed since he moved into Downing Street in 1997.

"...the vast majority of MPs in Outer London and the constituencies in the South East - who will lose out as a result of making those with seats "within travelling distance" of Westminster ineligible for the daily allowance - are Conservatives..."

Great headlines! "Tories vote for painful personal cuts while Labour still line their pockets".

(and the Knights-Claimant of the Shires can surely do a whip round for a sedan chair to transport Eric "I can't be expected to commute like normal slim persons" Pickles on his State Visits to Town for Question Time)

Cameron and hopefully Clegg must insist on a reduction in the number of MP's.
This is well overdue and the target should be around the 400 mark.
More than adequate if compared to others who run these things efficiently.

What a sham!! What an absolute dishonest sham, its only a 'U' turn if you end up going in a different direction. This has the stink of another stich up by the mainstream parties to ensure they end up no worse off than they are now. The figure of £170 a day is being bandied about, so that when they settle for £150 a day they will be able to crow about what good boys and girls they are, and how they are listening to the concerns of the public.

What do we have to do to shame this bunch of corrupt chancers into doing the right thing. The people will not forget this if it turns out to be nothing more than an exercise in fiddling the figures.

There is only one expenses system they should implement, and that is the same one the rest of us have to adhere to, with the HMRC constantly breathing down our necks.David Cameron and Nick Clegg want to be very careful what they put their names to.

Of course, the sudden haste has nothing to do with the rapidly approaching purdah period before the EP elections when no new government proposals are allowed.
And if HoC (i.e. the Speaker) becomes the employer the whole gamut of employment law comes into play e.g. 'x's assistant made a racist remark so he is sacked' not by x but by the HoC, or 'my assistant is lousy but I can't sack him because he's got to go through HoC disciplinary procedures, and appeals, and tribunals....'.

Not one mention of Den Dover?

Agree completely with John Broughton and Sarf Lunnon that direct Commons employment of MPs' staff is a bad thing.
If I had wanted to be a civil servant I would have joined the civil service.
I didn't. I wanted to work for a politician, for a Conservative MP.
Already the Commons authorities handle pay and pension administration for MPs' staff, and there are now pay scales for them - unheard of when I was there.
It must be remembered that part of what an MP is doing is trying to ensure they are re-elected. Their staff are helping them to do that. Not by misusing public funds but by helping them to provide a good service to their constituents. And the loyalty of a Member's staff must be to the Member, not to the Commons' authorities.
Presumably this is to avoid scandals over employment of Members' families. If the family member is actually doing the job, and doing it well, it really does not matter that they are a family member. I can think of lots of MPs' wives who have done and still do a superb job as their secretaries.
If the family member doesn't do a good job, then they are risking the Member's re-election.
And after so much media comment on the subject, an MP would need to be absolutely brazen and uncaring of his/her reputation to pay a family member a salary for a job they didn't do at all!

Daily Attendance allowancce? Paaaaaa-THETIC.

How long before someone covertly film an MP rocking up to sign in for their expenses, then buggering off again?

Cameron can cry "U-turn" and "all my ideas" as much as he likes, but it is Brown that has scheduled the meeting and set it terms of reference. The Conservatives have allowed Labour to steal the initiative.

It didn't have to be this way. Unlike the loan guarantee system or IHT where they need to be in government to act, on the whole expenses and behaviour issue, all anybody has to do is "to do the right thing". The chairman of the committee looking into this says it is not trivial, and maybe the final solution will be quite involved, but there is nothing to say it has to be perfect first time. A party could identify the most obvious abuses of common sense and legitimate expenses, publish initial proposals and act immediately. That would leave other parties scrabbling to reach consensus or reap electoral annihilation at the hands of a vengeful public.

Employment conditions for MPs' staff will require careful planning and cross party agreement if HoC is to become the employer. The party could oversee its MPs' staff in the interim so that achieving agreement doesn't delay moving to transparent arrangements.

Maybe all those greater London Conservatives mentioned at the end of the piece are the reason that Cameron couldn't act. Maybe on this moral issue he doesn't have full support from his party and needs wider consensus to bring the greedy into line. Whatever the reason, he's now playing catch-up, going to GB's meeting to discuss GB's agenda. Worse, every day the talking continues, the unjust expenses keep rolling in.

Transparency not simplicity should be the driving objective. No MP should be disadvantaged by having to attend parliament (expenses should be reimbursed) but equally, no MP should gain additional remuneration for just doing their job. If MPs can't be put up in appropriate accommodation arranged by the state then MPs should have a reasonable limit provided for them to make their own arrangements. They choice luxury above the limit at their own expense but they never get to pocket the difference if arrangements come in cheaper than the limit. This is not rocket science. The public are rightly suspicious of long winded attempts to nail this.

If central control of HoC staff leads to the creation of a massive, expensive and incompetent HR department, as they have in local authorities, the civil service, and other public sector bodies, I think that this is one "innovation" we could certainly do without!

Regarding the proposed "attendance allowance", would this just apply to attendance at the Commons, or would there be a broader definition of attendance in London? For example - what if an MP is not attending the Commons, but is meeting a minister on behalf of a constituent, or is working in his/her Westminster office for another specific reason?

Perhaps it would simply be better to set a fixed salary for MPs, based on proximity and connectivity of their constituency to London, or to adopt a "halls of residence" style arrangement.

The Green Book (guide to members`s allowances) states "members are reimbursed for costs properly incurred in performance of their duties".

That`s clear enough. Problem is that many of the not so honourable members took it on themselves to decide what was "properly incurred".

Expenses, supported by receipts, should be open to the Inland Revenue and constituents. There is no need for a new set of rules.

This attendance allowance is nothing more than a performance bonus - the performance metric being simply attendance. It should therefore be paid as any other performance bonus is: as part of salary.
This means they will pay income tax on it but that is only fair, everyone else who receives a bonus has it added to taxable income so why should MPs be exempt.

HoC Staff:
In view of John Broughton's comment follwed by Edith Rayment, Sarf Lunnon and SG, I had another look at Harman's document. I also had the thought that a Central Pool of Staff fully managed by a HoC HR Dept had many potential flaws.

The document says:
"all staff appointed by MPs without exception should become direct employees of the House of Commons, which would become centrally responsible for their employment terms and conditions, their contracts, and the payment of their salaries within the limit allowed - and will have the right to make an independent assessment of such contracts."

Now this is all being rushed through and I am sure the details are thread-like but I read this as stating that MPs will recruit their own staff and then present their choice, and conditions (P/T, F/T, On Call (Partners etc) to an HoC Office that will vet the suitability of the potential appt to ensure all rules are complied with and once they give approval, then take over all Admin of the Appt, Pay, etc.
To me that is a fair way of allowing the MPS the flexibility and confidentiality they require without veering into nepotism and grey financial areas.

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