How many reports on expenses does it take to change the attitudes of MPs? We (the taxpayers) have paid KPMG millions to produce one report; Sir Christopher Kelly is now spending a few million more to digest that and produce another one.
One of the recommendations from Kelly’s report will be the setting up of a quango to oversee MPs expense claims – the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. (You see what’s happening there? Not content with being caught with their hands in the till – or pants around their ankles in Mr Jacqui Smith’s case – they are creating yet more jobs for civil servants and cronies). But it won’t be independent, as the people working there will be appointed by the MPs themselves and you can bet that they will be ‘influenced’ to water down the proposals from KPMG and Kelly. The quango will also not start its work until after May 2010 and most of Kelly’s proposals will not take effect for 5 years, in order to give MPs time to adjust.
Time to adjust?! When any normal company implements a new policy, it usually happens within a few months and the employees get little say in the matter. MPs and unionised firms appear to be the exception, where toys are ejected from prams and the public is inconvenienced whilst ‘workers’ and employers decide who is going to back down first.
When are MPs going to accept that they are no more special than the thousands of people who travel for business every week and give up their plasma tellies and subsidised housing?
- Hotel or rented flats reimbursed at cost (less than £100 per night)
- Meals reimbursed at cost, limited to £50 per day
- No claims for those living within 50 miles of Westminster
- Travel to be via cheapest option from constituency, not a phantom home
- Porn and bath plugs not allowable
There, that didn't take £6m to work out, did it?