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March 24, 2009


Graeme Pirie

We do not need any "review" or reform, what we need is some honesty. The case for "additional costs" is no different to that experienced by many large companies with multiple places of work and are necessary. The difference is that in the private sector the overriding rule is necessity. They are also audited by HMRC to ensure that the individual has not profited.

It would be completely wrong to "incorporate" this in MPs salary for 2 reasons:

- It would be done only to hide the expenses from scrutiny
- It would be unfair to those MPs who genuinely need it, such as MPs from Manchester etc.

The concept is very simple. MPs have constituencies but are also expected to work in London, therefore those in far flung constituencies have "additional costs" which should be reimbursed.

Those who profit from it should be castigated and investigated by the Police and HMRC. A 100% fine would sound appropriate (as in any other deliberate tax fiddle).

The main home is always the constituency (if fact it should be a pre-condition of standing that they live in the area).

Rent/hotel should then be paid for those visits to London. Ministers offered taxpayers houses to stay in (Downing St) should get nothing. It does not matter how these are paid - provided the individual passes the "did not profit" test. HMRC should audit them using the same rules as for "common people".

It's easy and common sense - don't let these theives con us any more. We should name and shame all the scroungers at election time to ensure they go where they deserve - the dole queue.

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