Friday, 16 January 2009

Expenses stink

Harman’s new expense proposals stink so badly it’s as though they’ve been smeared with a festy pigeon.

Why don’t they get that all the stories, all the finger pointing and pontificating, will stop if they just go ahead and publish all the detail of their expenses.

I honestly don’t think most MPs have anything to hide, but I’m starting to get the feeling that the proposals Harman sneaked out yesterday will get passed.

A lot of MPs I’ve spoken to have said they are in favour of total openness but when asked if they will be there on Thursday to defeat the plans start umming and erring.

Others who speak out against the intense media scrutiny of this issue seem to feel victimised as though they are getting an abnormally tough ride compared to, say, the private sector.

They probably are. But they are spending money that comes direct form the tax payer.

Perhaps if we start calling it “best value” they will get the picture.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a private sector employee and now business owner, I have had to account for every single penny (or cent, centime, franc, euro, mark....) of my business expenditure for over thirty years, for inspection by the companies I've worked for and the tax man. So, the government can inspect the minutest details of what I do, but I don't get to inspect the detail of what someone spends on my behalf. It's disgraceful, and I think most MPs know it. Shame they don't have the decency and courage to make the system entirely open.

Gareth said...

Bazalgette's remarkable sewers have finally been overtopped. The Great Stink has returned. The age when public works truly were for the public, and worked, has long since turned to dust. Such fine hats and moustaches on the menfolk too.

Who will rid us of these meddlesome parasites.

They get special treatment by the Revenue as well. These people should be setting an example to the rest of the nation. Above reproach. Models of propriety. Capable of budgeting their own pockets as well as the nation. The similie to shit was never more apt.

Anonymous said...

And that is what they have got to hide: the massive special treatment they get compared with businesses and self-employed people, effectively a bribe from the tax authorities not to worry too much about what inspectors and collectors do to the little people. It is not just lack of the requirement to account.

There *is* flexibility at the revenue, and a few expense items are tacitly accepted by custom that the full stringency of their power could call into question; but anyone attempting to claim the sort of thing MPs get as standard (TV for second home, say) as an expense, never mind a pergola, would get the full penalty treatment, and would very likely go to gaol.

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