Azara Blog: MPs might stop expenses and instead get a huge pay rise

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Date published: 2008/05/27

The BBC says:

MPs could seek to avoid future expenses criticism by awarding themselves an automatic lump sum of £23,000 a year for second homes, it has emerged.

A Commons Members Estimate Committee review of MPs' expenses, led by Speaker Michael Martin, is looking at the plan.

It would avoid the need for MPs to submit claims backed by receipts. But Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker said: "It's an outrageous idea."

A spokesman for the committee said it was too early to specify its findings.

This would cover payments for a mortgage around 250k pounds in size (plus or minus, depending on term, interest rate, etc.). You couldn't buy a closet in London for that, but it would obviously be a big boost towards buying a house. But why should the public be subsidising MPs' housing? This whole expenses fiasco started because MPs wanted to award themselves a large pay rise but also wanted to pretend it wasn't a pay rise. Well, that is what this is, and they shouldn't still go around pretending it is anything else, using phrases such as "automatic lump sum".

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