Nick Clegg had his constituency home renovated at our expense and claimed 100% of the maximum allowed expenses last year, so perhaps he has a guilty conscience. Nevertheless he has come up with some good reform proposals that most voters would welcome:
- MPs would no longer be able to claim for mortgage interest payments, only rent.
- MPs should be forced to sell their second homes and return profits to the taxpayer. They would be given 36 months before Parliament refused to fund their mortgage interest payments. A proportion of the capital gain profits would have to be returned.
Clegg’s proposals would also see an end to taxpayers picking up the bill for flat screen TVs, furniture, building work and taxis. Just utility bills and council tax would be paid for by the taxpayers. Mr & Mrs Balls, Mr & Mrs Keen, Mr & Mrs Winterton and Mr & Mrs Robinson would only be able to claim half each. Guido’s heart bleeds for these millionaire troughers.
The Times reports that hair shirts would become compulsory wear:
Ministers with grace and favour accommodation, such as the Prime Minister and Chancellor, would not be allowed to claim rental on any additional property. On travel, MPs would be permitted standard open return tickets when travelling to and from their constituencies. MPs’ salaries would not be raised while the country is still in recession.
Mr Clegg told The Times: “It is easy enough for politicians to talk about how the current system for pay and expenses needs to be changed, but what people want to know is what we are actually going to do about it.”
On the whole this is a basis that many would see as fair and in line with best practice in the private sector. Guido would also like to see a “no receipt, no claim” system – as all of us in the private sector work on that basis – HMRC doesn’t believe taxpayers are honourable and the taxpayers no longer believe members of parliament are honourable. Cameron’s proposals are expected next week, they should be no less stringent if he wants to be credible. The parliamentary gravy train needs to be halted…