Aren’t MPs just the cards?

MPs including a minister are boosting their expenses by claiming for adult children “dependent” upon them, The Telegraph can disclose.

Rules introduced in 2017 allow MPs to claim additional second home expenses of up to £5,400 per child.

The rule was originally intended to help MPs with children rent bigger homes but The Telegraph has discovered, following changes to the regulations, several are using the allowance to claim for adult children in their 20s.

Claire Perry, an energy minister who earns £111,148 a year, claimed £9,846 on top of her £22,760 standard allowance by citing her three children aged 17, 19 and 22. Ms Perry said: “All claims are made completely in accordance with the Ipsa…

Presumably HMRC would not look askance at a private sector worker gaining the same sort of expenses? They would be tax free would they?

35 thoughts on “Aren’t MPs just the cards?”

  1. Bloke in North Dorset

    “All claims are made completely in accordance with the Ipsa…

    Ten years on and they’ve forgotten that excuse doesn’t work, and only rankles.

    With an institutional memory like that there’s no wonder Brexit is a mess.

  2. If they are housing their children there then it isn’t a ‘second’ home. Corrupt bastards rotten to the core.

    Regarding taxing them, if you did that they’d just give themselves an increase to cover it.

    I’d give them a dorm room each near the commons to use when in London. Their home should be in the place where the people they represent are.

  3. Make the rules to suit yourself, then when questioned say everything is in accordance with the rules.

  4. The expenses scandal came about because it had become politically unacceptable to pay MPs a decent wage. By decent wage I mean at a level that would attract and retain decent candidates. To compensate, expenses became a nod and a wink supplement. Think back to 1970s pay restraints, when employees were given company cars, luncheon vouchers and company credit cards, as a means of rewarding (and retaining) staff. Regretfully, being human, MPs took advantage and milked it for all they were worth, and rather than attracting quality people we end up with Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn. Perhaps we get the leaders we deserve?

  5. By decent wage I mean at a level that would attract and retain decent candidates.

    I reckon the opposite, Bernie. The wage that would attract decent candidates, i.e. already-successful people with extensive real world experience who are motivated by civic duty – rather than the creepy crawlies currently infesting the slime green benches – is zero.

    President Trump, after all, works for free. Gladstone and Disraeli never drew a salary. Yet we’re on the hook to support Diane Abbott with a gold-plated salary, expenses and pension package until she finally eats one KFC bargain bucket too many and gracelessly expires. (And she’s far from being the worst, compared to the average nonentity Labour or Tory MP she’s a wise statesman)

    We should make it impossible to have a remunerative career in politics. No salary, term limits, and restricting the eligibility criteria to over-50’s sounds good to me. Reasonable expenses and parliamentary accommodation provided in a Travelodge near Westminster. A lifetime ban on lobbying jobs after their term’s up.

    MP’s should be citizens, voluntarily and temporarily entrusted as lay representatives, not people who make a living off of telling lies. The political class is the enemy. Let’s extirpate it.

  6. The supply of people wanting to be MPs is high; I would say the salary is above what a market would offer. And the salary could be double what it is now and they’d still rob us on expenses, because they can.

  7. It’s tempting, but impractical, to pay them less than an intern’s wages.
    As a compromise, we should pay a reasonable salary, but make them claim any additional expenses from their constituency party. The fees office has clearly lost control. Basildon CCP or Batley CLP would do a better job of scrutiny.

  8. Whether anyone thinks MPs are overpaid or not is irrelevant. The point is that they oversee a system of laws that sees people go to prison for all sorts of merely technical breaches of the laws, while they lie and cheat as much as they can get away with. That isn’t sustainable.

  9. The professional career politician is, no doubt, an abomination. Except. To get anything done in politics, you need to understand where the levers of power are & how they operate. Or you’re not going to get anything done.
    Yes. It’d be nice to have amateur representatives from outside the bubble. But they’re going to be up against the Civil Service who do the implementing. Who know every device to thwart what a politician intends. Unless you can find a a way to put a crimp in the mandarins, you’re just going to end up with them running the country & no democracy at all. See Brexit

  10. In Sweden they live in offical 40m2 apartments with common clothes washing facilities. A single room is living room and bedroom. There is a list for the use of the common laundry room.

    Some live in 18m2 with a common kitchen. There are no domestic staff and the rules are clear, strict and adhered to. Until the 90’s they slept on sofa-beds in their parliamentary offices.

    Offices are 18m2 without helpers or secretaries. No MP has a right to a car with chauffeur. The PM’s residence is 300m2 but there is no domestic service and he irons his own shirts.

    (Taken from a video (that looks real) circulating in Spain where we have VERY entitled politicians too.)

  11. Mr in Spain, we have those professional pols already, the ones knowing the levers of power, but I think we’d agree they achieve little except embuggeration and getting rich at our expense. They’re no better at out-witting the mandarins than would an amateur be.

  12. Don’t think it’s quite that, Mr Lud. Problem’s that the qualifications for the two jobs are virtually the same. So you get people from similar backgrounds. Same universities. Same bubble. Actually, they both have the same agenda. ‘Policies’ they see as something you get elected on. Like advertising. What they actually do, when elected. The nitty gritty, not the headline stuff. They & the CS are of a single mind. See hate speech laws as a way of introducing censorship.
    What pisses them is they don’t earn as much as their CS counterparts & haven’t the job security. So they fiddle.

  13. I keep saying, stop allowing people starting out in life (ie in their 20s and 30s) being able to make politics a career. Make it so no-one under 50 can stand for Parliament. Then all the bits of people’s lives where needing a big salary to pay for a family, and keep up with the Joneses will be something they have to do under their own steam. Then when they have had families, and careers, and some experience of life they can perhaps start in politics. Then money isn’t an issue – people’s kids will have left home, they should have virtually paid off mortgages etc. You could also pay them on the basis of what job they left to become a politician – if all you were able to make before was minimum wage, thats what you get as MP. If you were a high flying lawyer, you get the same salary. That would sort the sheep from the goats……..

    All this stuff about how much to pay politicians arises because its become a job, rather than what it should be, a calling that people who want to put something back into society do when they’ve already had a career doing something else. If you revert it to that the issues with money disappear.

  14. A bit part of the problem is that legally and functionally MPs are single self-employed consultants, so MPs’ staff and accommodation are that individual MP’s costs, so you get the ridiculous situation that an MP with two staff has “expenses” of nearly 100K.

    MPs’ staff should be employees of Parliament, not of the MP they work for, and away-from-home accommodation for MPs should be owned by Parliament not the individual MP, so the costs, and any profit from selling on are Parliament’s not the individual MP’s.

  15. There are several options to the amount to pay for the elected scum:

    1) Zero. The Texas state legislature has the right idea: politics is a spare-time occupation (theirs has a limit of 140 sitting days per 2 year session) and a politicians pay comes from their existing day job.

    2) The median wage. The country does better, so do they. Ditto when the country does worse.

    3) What their electors choose. Each candidate on a ballot paper nominates the salary they want, and it becomes another factor in the vote. Alternatively, each elector nominates the amount they would chip in, and an amount is calculated from that (eg, average x size of electorate).

    I’d be happy with any of those options. I’d also allow reasonable expenses with published receipts (but basic accommodation and constituency offices should be supplied by the state, not belong to the politician or party.)

  16. Unless you can find a a way to put a crimp in the mandarins, you’re just going to end up with them running the country & no democracy at all

    Yes, and this is what we have now. The political class has no incentive to rein in Sir Humphrey, because they belong to the same caste. (See: Olly Robbins)

    A Parliament of amateur MP’s might have a better chance, because they’d be more likely to want to put the civil service back in its box.

    But nothing will seriously improve on the deep state front until those people are sacked by the millions and have their remaining offices dispersed across the country.

    No point in paying expensive labour in Whitehall to do what people in Manchester or Cardiff or Thurso will do for a fraction of the cost. Now that’s devolution you can believe in.

  17. “Presumably HMRC would not look askance at a private sector worker gaining the same sort of expenses? They would be tax free would they?”

    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/31/schedule/4

    One of the first things the Coalition did was to ensure that any MP expenses labelled as “accommodation” would not be taxable whatever HMRC’s views on the matter. A very, very short Act to deal with urgent matters before the first Budget of the new regime; a clear indicator of where their priorities lay.

  18. I did a bit of parliamentary lobbying in my younger years, and, given my commercial background, was not at all surprised by the eager approach of MPs wanting to join the payroll. Doubt it’s much different nowadays. Film stars and pop stars earn vast sums of money, but still feel they have to advertise coffee or perfume to supplement their income. There’s no such thing as enough appears to be the motto.

  19. so HMRC get a mention…

    I find it curious that £8,000,000,000 *acknowledged* fraud against taxpayers still has zero traction in the media or with our elected representatives …..

    That some of it was used to support Mr Bin Laden is one thing – but a further dozen Millennium Domes could’ve been built with the rest of the money -really- we supposed to swallow that the lack of disclosure is to respect taxpayer confidentiality?

  20. “A Parliament of amateur MP’s might have a better chance, because they’d be more likely to want to put the civil service back in its box.”

    Brave words, Steve, but how do you propose turning talk into walk? You do need people to administer the country. Amateur MPs can’t do it. They wouldn’t know how. And the Long March means pretty anyone at all administrative levels are suspect. You can’t fire everyone. And dispersing requires administrators to administer the dispersion.
    First idea comes to my mind is fire anyone with an Oxbridge degree from government service. No doubt you’d lose a few good people, but that seems to be the pit the most venomous of the vipers slither out of. And pour encourager les autres. “Are you or have you ever been in control of a punt?” has a nice ring to it.

  21. >Not sustainable? That’s how it’s always been.

    And it always ends in an uprising whenever it goes on for too long (and becomes known about). That’s the sense in which it’s unsustainable. That’s what’s going to happen in the West eventually.

  22. BiS – Basically, Pol Pot did nothing wrong.

    In all serialness though, why do we want 650 people to “administer the country”? What, exactly, do we get out of the current massive, creaking British state taxing the shit out of us and interfering in every aspect of our lives? Most of us just want potholes to be filled in and the bins collected.

    I always thought the EU’s idea about subsidiarity was a good un. Shame they don’t actually believe in it.

  23. Indeed. Pol Pot. Much maligned chap. Great amount to be learned from him. A professor of practise toiling in the fields on half a bowl of rice a day could be most instructive.

  24. “Bernie G.
    May 11, 2019 at 9:13 am

    The expenses scandal came about because it had become politically unacceptable to pay MPs a decent wage. By decent wage I mean at a level that would attract and retain decent candidates. ”

    1. High wages don’t attract decent candidates on their own. They also attract all sorts of no-hopers looking for an easy payday.

    2. Given that there are not only never any seats left empty because no one wants to compete for the job but that pretty much every seat has multiple competitors for it, they’re paid pretty well.

    3. The problem isn’t that the candidates aren’t very good, the problem is the people putting them in those seats DGAF.

  25. bloke in spain,

    “But they’re going to be up against the Civil Service who do the implementing. Who know every device to thwart what a politician intends.”

    This is always the excuse claimed by the politicians, and I don’t believe it. I’ve never heard someone elucidate one of these civil service plots against government.

    The reality is that most politicians are lazy fuckers. Yes, they claim to work hard, but a lot of what they do is just jollies and their own self-promotion. There are failures throughout the civil service and they piss about meeting local charity groups or doing school visits instead of spending time on this stuff.

    Like, Gove got free schools through. Why? Because he gave a shit about getting it done. Hired spads like Dominic Cummings who gave a shit about getting it done.

    My own experience on civil service projects is that the biggest problem is their incentives. They’re lazy (and can’t be easily fired), or they gold plate everything (because no minister is ever dragged onto Today for stupidly spending millions to prevent a miniscule risk).

  26. The pay isn’t high enough to attract decent candidates, but is high enough to attract lots of useless ones.

    So the answer is to stop paying them, and instead compensate them for loss of income. If you were earning half a million before becoming an MP, you get paid half a million. If you were earning minimum wage, you get paid minimum wage. Income for tax purposes, average over previous five years, to stop them fiddling it.

    It’ll also encourage aspirant MPs to get proper jobs and a bit of experience beforehand, to get their income up. Hopefully in the process a lot of them will discover that there are better things to do.

  27. “All claims are made completely in accordance with the Ipsa…”

    And yet when a company says that “all claims are made completely in accordance with the Taxes Acts” we get MPs talking of ‘fair share’ and ‘morality’ and ‘spirit of the rules’

    Bunch of hypocritical cunts.

  28. “So the answer is to stop paying them, and instead compensate them for loss of income. If you were earning half a million before becoming an MP, you get paid half a million. If you were earning minimum wage, you get paid minimum wage. Income for tax purposes, average over previous five years, to stop them fiddling it.”

    Exactly. It would make the ‘being an MP’ part of the job the most important thing rather the the salary being a significant factor. So people who don’t earn mega bucks would REALLY have to want to be an MP, to have a burning desire to get involved, because it wouldn’t help their bank balance one bit. And also starting young would mean being stuck at a low salary for the rest of your political career as well. Whereas older candidates would generally have higher incomes to start with, thus encouraging people to go and earn a decent living outside of politics first, and become MPs later in life.

  29. Jim
    Provided of course that the pre-politics income was really not-politics: no civil servants nor publicly funded ‘third-sector’ employment to count.

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