Tuesday 19, July 2011
TaxPayers' Alliance blasts new MP expenses rules
THE TaxPayers' Alliance has slammed "whinging" MPs who will be able to claim millions more in expenses from next month.
New rules launched today by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) will allow MPs to claim more for their children, accommodation and staffing costs.
In addition, 31 extra MPs living in commuter areas around London will again be able to claim for the controversial second home allowance.
The changes come as former North West Conservative MEP Den Dover was ordered to repay £345,289 in expenses claims by the European Parliament.
The TPA has reacted furiously and told the Salford News that IPSA should not water down rules to satisfy complaining MPs.
“It’s appalling that millions more of taxpayers’ money will go to well paid MPs,” said Charlotte Linacre, Campaign Manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance.
“IPSA is by no means perfect but it was set up to prevent another expenses scandal, and the regulator must not water down rules because of a small, hard-core of MPs who are complaining.
“Many taxpayers work long hours and commute from outside London,” she continued.
“It’s unbelievable that some MPs are saying they can’t or won’t do the same.”
Meanwhile, Sir Ian Kennedy, IPSA Chairman, said the regulator must be “fair” to MPs who had complained that the system introduced 10 months ago was too bureaucratic and “anti-family”.
These regulations – which IPSA claim to have already saved £18m – were introduced in the wake of the expenses scandal – in which £1m was paid back by MPs who had wrongfully made claims. But the new rules will allow MPs to claim millions more.
Sir Ian said: “The key to the changes is that there can be no going back to the old ways but we must be fair to MPs and ensure that there are robust mechanisms of accountability and transparency for the taxpayer.”
A Liberal Democrat spokesperson told Salford News they welcomed the new measures.
“IPSA has acknowledged that it didn’t get everything right and we welcome the steps it has taken towards addressing some of the problems arising from the current scheme,” said the spokesperson.
“We welcome the move towards a regime that better enables MPs to carry out the job that their constituents sent them to Parliament to do and one that is also more family friendly.
“We support IPSA’s commitment to greater cost-effectiveness.”
However, the TaxPayers’ Alliance reiterated its disapproval of the new measures.
“Some MPs are out of touch with the concerns and pressures of ordinary taxpayers, whinging to get more perks while they are supposed to be trying to find savings for the public purse,” said Ms Linacre.
Salford MP Hazel Blears was unavailable for comment. The Conservative and Labour parties declined to comment.
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