The news that MPs allowances and expenses are to be overhauled is very welcome. Sadly it may take a long time for public confidence to be restored. That said, however, the proposals are sensible and in keeping with the way other public servants are paid. The key proposals ( which can be read in more detail on the BBC link below) are that:
1) The second home allowance is to be scrapped and replaced by an attendance allowance linked to actual attendance in parliament. This is very good news as one of the things that had attracted most criticism was that an MP could use the allowance to buy a second home and then also benefit from the capital gain on that property.
2) The items known as the “John Lewis” list ( such as linen, sofas, TVs and even bath plugs!) that have caused so much press interest will no longer be paid.
3) Outer London MPs will no longer be able to claim the accommodation allowance of £23,083 but will have a London supplement added to their salary of around £2,900, thats more than enough for a Zone 1-6 travel card!
4) MP’s staff will now all be employed directly by the House of Commons with standardised contracts. Not only will this give transparency and security to MP’s staff but it should put a stop to the confusion some MPs seemed to have in deciding if someone was actually a researcher or a nanny!
5) All items must be receipted even small items under £25.
These measures are welcome and long over due. An MP’s constituents have to pay their own commuting and private expenditure and as our representatives MPs should do the same.