Duncan's blog

January 18, 2009

MPs’ expenses

Members of Parliament make a basic salary of £63,291. Some of them get paid additional salary for other responsibilities, e.g. if they are a government minister. For instance, here’s a few salaries:

  • £194,250 Prime Minister
  • £141,866 Cabinet Minister
  • £141,866 Speaker
  • £77,330 Select Committee Chair

On top of that, they get pretty much all their expenses paid for. For instance they can claim up to:

  • £100,205 staffing allowance (often with family members being paid from this)
  • £22,193 incidental expenses
  • £24,006 additional living costs, e.g. for staying away from home while attending parliament
  • £10,400 communication allowance
  • generous travel expenses

Also, when an MP leaves the commons at a general election, they get a lump sum of between 50% and 100% of their annual salary. I’m not sure if this applies to those that lose their seats, or just to those that stand down, but I’m guessing both.

So in total they get a very healthy amount of money from the taxpayer every year. As do MSPs, MEPs and Councillors.

However, they are very secretive about revealing their expenses. There have been several Freedom Of Information requests in the last few years trying to get MPs to reveal exactly what they’re claiming expenses for. After going all the way to the High Court trying to fight against the Information Commissioner’s decision, they’re now about to decide whether to exempt themselves from having to do just that.

This exemption will prevent us discovering exactly what it is MPs are spending their expenses on. For instance, under FOI requests that have already been published, we discovered that Margaret Beckett claimed £1,920 for plants, Barbara Follett claimed £1,600 for window cleaning and Tony Blair claimed £10,000 for refurbishing his kitchen.

Parliament has already spent about a million pounds preparing for making expense claims public, (mostly scanning receipts by the sounds of things) but all that money, time and effort is going to be wasted. MPs vote on Harriet Harman’s proposal on Thursday 22nd. This will be going against High Court ruling that their expense receipts should be published.

Things you can do right now:

  • Join the Facebook group and invite your contacts to also join.
  • Write to your MP asking them to vote against this.
  • Write to your local newspapers to complain.

Some links to find out more:

2 Comments »

  1. >Write to your local newspapers to complain.

    Suggest phoning and asking them to cover the story.

    Letters will not have an impact by Thursday. Phone calls to Constituency Offices from journalists about a story for *next* week may.

    Matt

    Comment by mattwardman — January 19, 2009 @ 1:22 pm | Reply

  2. […] expenses There was a shameful attempt recently by the Government to try and cover up the detail of MPs’ expenses, which thankfully never happened. Coincidentally, today the Scottish Parliament published […]

    Pingback by MSPs’ expenses « Duncan’s blog — January 23, 2009 @ 7:32 pm | Reply


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