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MPs and their homes

Something really bizarre occured this morning. I was listening to the radio and found myself agreeing with something Anne Widdecombe said. I'm hoping I'm going to recover soon.

There's been a lot of coverage about the MPs second housing thing lately, and it seems clear that some of them have manipulated the system. Not really surprising as people do that whatever the system is.

However, the point made this morning was that this system is there for a very good reason. MPs clearly need to reside both in their constituency and near parlament. In a lot of cases, this is clearly going to require a second house, which needs to be paid for somehow.

From what I gather of the situation, a certain amount of money has been put in a big pot to cover this. How it gets distributed doesn't then effect how much the tax payers have paid, so they're not really steeling tax payers money instead they're cheating their colleagues out of it by not letting it be distributed fairly. OK, still not ideal, but not quite what the torygraph seem to be making it out to be.

OK, people like David Cameron may have lots of money and may not actually technically need anything additional to fund a second home, but it's important that this isn't a pre-requisite for being an MP. It needs to be feasible for people to stand for parliament no matter what their financial background, otherwise we risk a situation of the government being entirely represented by the rich.

There needs to be some system in place for this therefore and however much anamosity we may feel towards them at times MPs are people and need to have the freedom to live the way they choose.

It seems very silly to waste more money going back through all the transactions that have been made over the past 4 years to see which are valid and which aren't. Why not just draw a line over it, say "what's done is done" and then work out a new system that can be implemented more fairly.

To me, the most sensible thing is to say that any MP who's consistuency is over x miles from London and therefore clearly can't commute should get an allowance of £y to cover a second home to spend as they wish.

Therefore, Mr Cyril Sneer MP for somewhere a long long way from London, would get his £y and if he wanted to spend it on filling his current house floor to ceiling with sofas, that would be up to him, but that would be all he would get to fund a second home.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
naath
13th May, 2009 12:43 (UTC)
But we *pay MPs*. In fact we *pay MPs a lot of money*. MPs are paid more than twice what I am paid - I pay for my living costs with what I earn, if I had twice as much I could pay for my living costs twice over!

MPs decide the minimum wage, they get to stand there and try to say with a straight face that people can, and should, be living on what works out at about 10,000 pounds/year (if you comply with the Working Time Directive). And then they claim that they can't possibly keep two homes on >60,000 pounds/year. They are apparently stupid or massively out of touch.

My preferred proposal is to buy a block of flats and give each MP a flat in it under the same terms that people who get free council housing get housed (that is, the same amenities and level of comfort and so forth) at the public's expense.

Yes, poor people should be able to become MPs, this is why it is right and proper that MPs are paid.
hmmm_tea
13th May, 2009 16:10 (UTC)
The second home in an additional cost we are asking some (not all - some constituencies are in a commutable distance) MPs to pay. It makes sense, therefore for this to be separate from what they are paid.

How much this allowance is and how much they are paid other than this is a separate issue.

If you calculated the allowance based on the London Living Wage, then that's around £15,000 a year, which would rent a reasonable flat.

What MPs are paid needs to reflect their work and it seems fair that this should be on par with top level managers for members of the cabinet. To be fair, it would be nice to think that running a country was highly skilled work and their wage will also need to reflect how much they necessarily have to answer for their work to the public as a whole.
(Deleted comment)
hmmm_tea
13th May, 2009 16:10 (UTC)
When is he not on his high horse about something?
(Deleted comment)
wellinghall
13th May, 2009 19:50 (UTC)
But if the "honourable" member for Chippings-on-the-Road only claims £20,000 for his second home, instead of the maximum £24,000 (?), that £4,000 woun't go to other MPs; it just means a reduction in the overall tax bill.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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