MPs' expenses: things for policywonk to say if she gets the chance

(259 Posts)
policywonk Tue 19-May-09 17:15:35

So I'm off tomorrow afternoon to this panel discussion thing: here are the details

I'll go through the old thread tonight but post any more stuff here. Y'know, if you want to.

<yawns> I'm SO OVER MPs' expenses. wink

LeninGrad Tue 19-May-09 21:20:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Paolosgirl Tue 19-May-09 21:27:47

Why do all other public sector workers (in the NHS board I work for anyway) have to adhere to the following:-

1. A max. of £20 for food a day if away on business - £5 for lunch and dinner and £10 for dinner. And that includes your drinks.

2. Taxi fares must be justified in writing, or else they will be automatically rejected.

3. Expenses must be claime within 3 months. If you lie on the form you will be sacked.

4. If I submitted all my receipts and asked finance to sort them out and pay me what I was due, they would send them straight back to me and tell me to work it out for myself.

Oh - and can you please ask them when they are going to buy or build a block of flats in London so that MP's can have the use of an apartment only for as long as they are actually an MP.

jkklpu Tue 19-May-09 21:31:24

Following on from Martha's comment, how about them all donating their stuff to the social fund in their constituencies? (ie NOT giving them the choice as to whether it's the one nearest to their 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th "home".

jkklpu Tue 19-May-09 21:35:00

How about a good indicator of which is the real "home" for those with children being the place where the kids go to school? Would be hard to argue with that, don't you think?

And definitely agree that any profits on houses sold, if the mortgages have been paid for by public funds, reverting to the State, even if it's for reinvestment in MPs' justifiable allowances.

The public sector has to make savings to justify new spending, so how about doing away with all the subsidies of food and drink inside the Palace of Westminster at the same time? Make them pay the full whack for their gin and jam doughnuts.

policywonk Tue 19-May-09 21:57:14

Thanks for all this, am making notes

Is there a tariff for social fund items (I can't find one) or is it discretionary?

edam Tue 19-May-09 22:00:56

Why can't the House of Commons buy a block of flats and provide accommodation for MPs, like halls of residence?

And don't they wish they'd listened to Norman Baker...

CMOTdibbler Tue 19-May-09 22:03:45

Paolosgirl - those are the HMRC rules ! I work for a private sector company and we can claim only what HMRC say we can - down to precise details of car start and stop places to satisfy their demands.

MPs expenses and allowances should be fully subject to taxation and scrutiny by the IR, just like the expenses of everyone else

EachPeachPearMum Tue 19-May-09 22:08:05

Scootergrrrl and IwoulddoDrWho next to the two Polish Parliament buildings in Warsaw, the Sejm (Lower House) and the Senate (Upper House) is the Parliamentary Hotel. Members of both houses of Parliament from outside Warsaw stay there when Parliament is in session. It has restaurants, bar, shop etc. - a good solution?

EachPeachPearMum Tue 19-May-09 22:09:59

x-posts... all you others mentioning it too....

MoatCleaner Tue 19-May-09 22:12:18

hall of residence in westminster

govt to buy ex-council houses in constituencies - big outlay but once they're bought they are "for" the sitting MP

if they are not London MP they can only claim for reduced council tax plus cheapest rail return once a week

London MPs - oyster card

Lenin, Surely you meant, Perestroika

I want to know who was opposing the FOIA requests that Heather Brooke submitted. And why.

pointydog Tue 19-May-09 22:12:29

open to terrorist attack, edam?

I've not been paying attention lately. Are you now our official political journo/lobbyist, PW? (very good too)

Leningrad's 'what now', or Martha's social fund comparison both good qus imo. Although I would be rather tempted to go 'wtf? Seriously?'

policywonk Tue 19-May-09 22:17:41

Oooh NO fp. Just volunteered again and almost nobody else did.

Shouldn't you be sitting in a bathtub of ice or something?

re: social fund.

there is not a published tariff for items. people have to request an amount for an item, which is then granted or not. The social fund works on the following guidance:

"In considering what is an appropriate range of prices, use those currently charged for guaranteed items of serviceable quality available in national catalogue outlets and/or national high street chain retailers. Do not formulate a range using prices that go beyond the yardstick of serviceable quality (e.g., luxury goods with non essential extras). Note that using the prices of everyday national retailers to establish the range does not mean that the applicant is obliged to buy from these retailers. Ensure too that the items are available at the range of prices locally."

In practice this means that if you can get a basic bed in Argos for £150.00, £150.00 will be the ceiling for payments. I assist people to make a fair number of these applications and have yet to see a bid for a flat screen TV, patio heater, or elephant lamp (yes, you, Gove) be successful.

policywonk Tue 19-May-09 22:20:18

Thanks Martha. My mother used to work for the CAB; I remember her fuming at people having to beg for basic stuff.

dollius Tue 19-May-09 22:23:14

Definitely ask Martha's questions re social fund.

I also wonder how MPs who feel so entitled to claim for having their chimneys swept when they are married to multimillionaires and only live in Hertfordshire anyway, really think they can have any idea about the life of the average family in this country. And how they can possibly hope to represent them in Parliament?

Good luck tomorrow Policywonk - am sure you will do a marvellous job.

Grumpy0ldWotz Tue 19-May-09 22:27:44

I like some of these questions. I like the idea that they should all live in apartment block and pay rent. Part of me is even enjoying the thought that if they were all in one place, they could get zapped up like that Doctor Who episode or have a big pirate ship land on them!

[evil cackle emoticon]

Hope it goes well PW.

MollieO Tue 19-May-09 22:29:15

Interesting point about the Social Fund. The 'reasonableness' (at least to cost) of MPs expenses was known as the 'John Lewis' list. I wonder what catalogue the SF use and why JL was chosen for MPs.

MollieO Tue 19-May-09 22:31:26

I think that MPs should either rent their second home or live in a tied home like farm labourers do. Why should they benefit from capital appreciation of their house when they aren't paying the mortgage?

policywonk Tue 19-May-09 22:31:47

Thanks for all the good wishes.

Mollie, yes - that's it isn't it? It's John Lewis vs Argos (according to Mollie's post below).

policywonk Tue 19-May-09 22:32:13

Sorry, Mollie Martha's post below

I'm applying frozen peas at will, don't worry.

Good luck for tomorrow.

edam Tue 19-May-09 22:37:08

we can only hope, policy...

yeah, thought that'd be the objection. But what's to stop the Commons buying four buildings, in different parts of London? Or just buying 654 flats, minus the posts that take grace and favour accommodation around town?

us ordinary taxpayers already have to stump up for security at the residences of some politicians, might work out cheaper if we could lump them all in together. (And make sure they are near failing schools, then the buggers might have to send their own children there and actually DO something about education..)

LeninGrad Tue 19-May-09 22:39:01

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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