Friday, May 15, 2009

MPs' expenses: ask the tax man

The country is awash with proposals for reforming the system of MPs' expenses and allowances (Lynn Truss, please note position of apostrophe). Here are two more. Firstly, remove certain support functions from individual expenses altogether. For example, parliament itself should employ the support staff, as happens in the European Parliament. (It would be helpful if leading members of the Liberal Democrats could refrain from cheap cracks about "the Brussels gravy train" and perhaps learn some lessons from the EP instead). Secondly, pay MPs a higher salary and let HMRC decide which expenses are allowable as wholly, necessarily and exclusively incurred in the course of work. This would put MPs on the same footing as all citizens. There would still be disputed items but the decision would lie with the taxman and the courts, not the House of Commons fees office operating special rules for MPs.

Incidentally, according to Michael Brown, former Tory MP, Margaret Thatcher is to blame as she blocked a salary increase and introduced allowances instead, thus deceiving the electorate.

1 comment:

MrMagoo said...

Whilst I agree with your first suggestion, I'm not sure about your second. I am a long way from convinced that an increase in salary for MPs can be justified ( expenses scandal not withstanding ).