There isn’t a duck house or a moat cleaning company in sight when you look at our MP’s expenses, which kind of makes you think they might have learnt a thing or two. But you’d be wrong if you thought that.
After the expenses scandal, politicians promised us complete reform. Three key things were identified as needed changing: transparency, the rules and the culture. Six years later, however, and the promised radical sweeping reforms still do not seem to have materialised.
One cannot disagree that the expenses system is far better than it was. And for the last six years a new watchdog called the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) is in control of MPs’ pay and expenses.
“Our rules are a clean break from the old system of allowances,” it stated when it was set up in 2009. “The new rules are fair (to MPs and the public purse), workable and transparent.” As well as cutting many of the things politicians can claim for, Ipsa also publishes all expenses data on its website, so we have had a look at it. Our data provided by IPSA is for the period 2010/11 – 2015/16, the latest set of complete data available.
So we can tell you that MP’s across all parties who sit (or who have sat) in Parliament have claimed a grand total of £580,290,609, and this equates to an annual average 10% increase above inflation per year for the last six years. Have your expenses risen at the same rate? We think not. Now do remember this DOES NOT include their salary.
So there has been a 60% increase on their expenses bill, that we the public pay for and there job is safe, well until the next election anyway. On Wednesday 23rd November 2016, Chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver the Autumn Statement. The Guardian and other national and international newspapers have informed us that:
“More than one in five workers, some 7.1 million people, now face precarious employment conditions that mean they could lose their work suddenly – up from 5.3 million in 2006′
None of these people can claim expenses, like MP’s can
Families who are just about managing (JAM’s) – anybody in work and earning between £12,500 – £34,000, so a vast number of people in Shepway no doubt, will be £2,500 a year worse off by 2020 according to Policy In Practice. The study is based on the financial circumstances of 187,475 households in 17 district, council and metropolitan borough councils in England, Scotland and Wales under a mix of political control.
We do not believe MP’s will be any worse off by 2020 do you? We pay their wages, we pay their expenses and this is how they in return treat us, now wonder people have taken to burning effigy’s of their local MP.
Who does your MP listen to? His party or his electorate?
“MP’s are claiming more and more on things such as air travel and rent. Flight expenses have gone up and are now standing at over more than £1m a year. Expenses for renting second homes has risen and we the electorate are paying for their life of riley
As for transparency, well, the data that IPSA publishes online would not, be enough to uncover the worst abuses of the MP’s expenses scandal. Many of those – the trick of “home flipping”, for instance – were only uncovered because the Telegraph got hold of the original, uncensored files. Crucial details – such as the full names of every company that politicians have paid money to – are not included in IPSA’s prized new database.” (Martin Williams Parliament Ltd)
So if your a JAM or one of the 7.1 million in precarious employment in Shepway or the country , it doesn’t matter really what Chancellor Hammond says, as our MP’s with their I’m all right Jack attitude, don’t really care. As long as their gravy train moves onwards and upwards what’s your problem.
To finish, on our local MP, Damian Collins (above) came fifth in the overall expenses claims rejected by IPSA, but is No 1 for rejected claims amongst MP’s in Kent. (Top 10 MP’s denied expenses claims below)
So six years on little has changed MP’s continue to find ways to inflate their claims, while we the people live in precarious times with regards to employment.
If you want to say something to your MP about the 60% increase of MP’s expenses, then you can contact them here
Some of this post first appeared in Martin Williams book Parliament Ltd the best book about Parliament we have read in a long time and would be an excellent Christmas present.