Did anyone really expect that MP’s in the UK would really change their ways after the recent expenses scandal? There was much talk of a ‘clean-up’ and transparency in the future, a new Speaker pledging to reform the system as part of his election campaign.
So what has happened? It would appear that the only regret was being ‘found out’, not the fact that many were fleecing the taxpayer.
A new scheme for MP’s expenses, approved without public announcement or public debate, means that members can claim a flat fee as a subsistence allowance for every day they spend away from their main home. Such an allowance requires no receipts to be submitted, thus avoiding the possibility that such allowances can be made available under the Freedom of Information Act, and the allowance can be spent as and how the MP sees fit.
So moat cleaning, the building of duck houses and the purchase of expensive TV’s can be carried out without any fear of anybody getting to know about it. Some transparency!
What’s more, the new allowance is almost double the old ‘no receipts’ amount and is on top of other allowances for mortgage interest, rent, utility bills and council tax. Under such a new system of ‘transparency’, it will not be possible for them to be independently verified.
MP’s will apparently purely have to state, without proof, how many nights they spent away from their main home to receive the flat fee. Some clean-up, if this is the case, but then did we really expect anything else?