Still not got it

And Liberal Democrat Evan Harris said that giving up the Westminster flat which he owns and moving into rented property could actually result in a bigger bill for the taxpayer, as rents for similar properties were generally higher than monthly mortgage payments.

Look laddie, well done you for owning a flat in Westminster. But you\’re not seriously saying that given that you already own it you\’re going to move out and into a rental just so the taxpayers can pay for it, are you?

27 comments on “Still not got it

  1. Why does Dr Harris need a property in London anyway?

    He’s the MP for my part of Oxfordshire. It is, at most, a 90-minute coach ride commute – I do it regularly, as do many other people I know.

    A season ticket costs a mighty sight less than mortgage interest payments or rental claims. My company would not pay for me to have a property in London – why should a Member of Parliament be paid to do so?

    D

  2. If he has a mortgage then he doesn’t really own it in the way you are suggesting.

    Dungeekin – when you say you commute regularly what actually do you mean, and at what times of the day.

  3. Matthew,

    From memory, the Oxford Tube runs from Victoria to central Oxford with remarkable regularity 24 hrs/day.

    Short toddle up the road from Parliament, short kip on the bus and Robert is your parental sibling of choice as they say.

  4. From memory, the Oxford Tube runs from Victoria to central Oxford with remarkable regularity 24 hrs/day.

    Yes it does, along with a similar, rival service from Oxford Bus Company. Plus there are trains to Paddington and a proposed new train link from Oxford to Marylebone. So no shortage of options for commuting from Oxford to London (or vice versa).

    In fact Oxford is so close to London, that Oxford airport is now “London Oxford airport”.

  5. “London Oxford airport”.

    To general hilarity. Then again I think the same is true of Lydd airport and that’s harder to get to.

  6. Oxford is far enough from London that, while some people might *choose* to commute from there for lifestyle reasons (I considered it and rejected it a couple of years ago), it’s unreasonable to expect anyone to actually do so as a necessary part of their job.

    (from Oxford town centre to Westminster takes 1h45 hours all in: 15 mins to the station, 1hr for the train, 10 mins waiting and getting tube to Baker Street, 20 mins waiting and getting tube to Westminster. If you use the bus, it takes over 2 hours in the morning peak).

  7. What John & Matthew said–he owns the flat, but it’s on a mortgage, he also has his main homw in Oxford.

    Those who rail against the crapness of most legislation coming out of the house might want to think about what it is we want MPs to actually do–3 hours on a coah each day isn’t going to help the scrutiny process much, especially given the irregular hours most MPs work.

    I reckon Evan and others should put their London homes into trust funds and rent them from them.

  8. john b,

    why not have a low reasonable reimbursable per diem (with receipts) for MPs to cover travel, lodging and food when they are working in london?

    this amount would be known in advance and MPs could then *choose* whether they wanted to seek election in the first place.

  9. @10, yes, that’d be fair – but setting the lodging rate at Travelodge level in London (which is fair: no white-collar employer expects its staff to go below that) would be about £100 per night, which works out as around £15,000pa based on the number of parliamentary sessions in 2006-07.

    Which is about the rent for my large-ish 2-bed flat in Zone 2, and is much higher than the mortgage on such a flat, so I’m not sure this’d be a net benefit to the taxpayer.

  10. “Which is about the rent for my large-ish 2-bed flat in Zone 2, and is much higher than the mortgage on such a flat, so I’m not sure this’d be a net benefit to the taxpayer.”

    While I’m not advocating any specific solution, the problem has never been the cost to the tax-payer. If the cost to the tax-payer is the only issue, why should we care about them taking tens of thousands of unnecessary expenses, it means nothing per head of population.

    The problem is that I don’t want to be ruled by people who steal my money and when caught, complain about the harsh conditions they have to work under.

  11. I don’t see any objection to granting MPs an allowance for a rental in London. They do work quiet irregular hours. I certainly would not be prepared to commute daily from Oxford and do the hours that an MP does for a mere £65K. That said, I don’t see why they should receive more than an allowance to pay for a rental, say a 1/2 bed apartment. What they do with it is up to them. If they want to use it to subsidise a mortgage, good luck to them, but all capital gains taxes should still be payable in that instance.

  12. I have an objection to granting them an allowance.

    Ordinary workers aren’t granted allowances – they work late and commute, or move.

    BUT – while I accept that MPs do need to have a presence in two locations (Westminster and their own Constituency) I think there is a solution.

    Barracks.

    D

  13. Here’s a suggestion that’s been floated: after the Olympics, turn part of the Olympic village into MP’s accommodation. If you want to have your own digs, fine, but no subsidy. Or you can live in the Olympic Village for free. Alternatively, build a barracks for ’em in Westminster.

  14. Ordinary workers aren’t granted allowances – they work late and commute, or move.

    Everyone I know in the private sector who’s been obliged to work across multiple sites as part of their job description has received allowances for travel to, and accommodation at, the other site.

  15. I recall reading an interesting suggestion the other day on the interwebs; that the candidates for election put on the ballot paper the salary they plan to charge. That is then what they get, expenses and all.

  16. I also support the barracks idea. The accomodation, gas, electricity, broadband, ‘phone would be there if they want it, but they wouldn’t be able to claim any expenses money. Because as soon as you give them any opportunity to claim expenses the twisters will come up with some other scam.

    To replace their travel expenses, I might issue them with a standard fare season ticket to cover their journeys to and from their constituency, but not to cover any journeys within the greater London area.

    And no payments for secretarial staff/ interns either.

    These folk are already getting a very generous salary and pension. Far in excess of what the rest of us have to live on.

  17. Do you really want a lot of MPs living close together in a barracks/village, cut off from the outside community when parliament is sitting? Surely, any sane person would want to maximise politicians’ contact with the real world.

  18. Ordinary workers aren’t granted allowances – they work late and commute, or move

    Well if ‘ordinary workers’ are prepared to commute from Oxford and do the same kind of irregular hours as an MP then they are pretty thick, aren’t they. As an ordinary worker myself, and one who is paid rather more than an MP, my deal is rather better than that.

  19. And no payments for secretarial staff/ interns either

    Utterly daft. Just because MPs have been taking the piss, doersn’t excuse you from doing the same!

    These folk are already getting a very generous salary and pension. Far in excess of what the rest of us have to live on

    There won’t be much left from £65K if you have to pay for support staff out of your pocket.

  20. Ordinary workers aren’t granted allowances – they work late and commute, or move

    And of course they can’t move as they must maintain a dwelling in their constituency. That is why an allowance is reasonable.

  21. Stephen:

    “Well if ‘ordinary workers’ are prepared to commute from Oxford and do the same kind of irregular hours as an MP then they are pretty thick, aren’t they. As an ordinary worker myself, and one who is paid rather more than an MP, my deal is rather better than that.”

    I don’t care what you’re doing, you’re overpaid and underworked. And you’re smug, conceited, and arrogant.

    Apart from that though, you’re a thoroughly nice piece of shit.

    Ordinary people are working all hours. In 24 hour petrol stations, on trawlers, on farms, in power stations, in hospitals, steelworks, semiconductor foundries, factories, and fire stations, to name only a few. By and large, they don’t just do that because they are thick.

    Ian: Yes I do want to put them in barracks. They are constituency MPs who have been cheating their poorest constituents out of their hard-earned money, to subsidise their luxuries. The barrier that insulates them from the common working man isn’t physical or geographic. It is financial. It is having enough money, taxed from the passengers in steerage class, to live rather well in a first class cabin.

  22. I don’t care what you’re doing, you’re overpaid and underworked. And you’re smug, conceited, and arrogant

    And you appear to be overworked and under-qualified, quick to anger and not very stable. There may be a connection between those flaws and your pay, don’t you think? And I am not smug in the slightest, just realistic; and if arrogant means objecting to the confederacy of dunces here, then so be it.

    Apart from that though, you’re a thoroughly nice piece of shit

    Says the man who resorts to offensive language when his silly immature views come under challenge.

    Ordinary people are working all hours. In 24 hour petrol stations, on trawlers, on farms, in power stations, in hospitals, steelworks, semiconductor foundries, factories, and fire stations, to name only a few. By and large, they don’t just do that because they are thick

    Blah, blah, blah … and if they are communitng 4 hours a a day and working 12 hour days in a hospital then they are putting their own lives and their patients lives in danger. Actually I challenge you to find any real examples of people who commute 4 hours a day and are doing demanding long-hour jobs in those professions. And if they are, they are a danger to their colleagues as well as themselves.

  23. They are constituency MPs who have been cheating their poorest constituents out of their hard-earned money

    Err, no: their poorest constituents don’t pay any tax (net, obviously, as that’s the only sane metric).

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