Thursday, 23 April 2009

More on expenses

At least Gordon's announcement this week has triggered a slightly better informed debate about MPs' expenses than we've had over the past year or so. Michael White has an interesting piece in the Guardian, although I think he's wrong on the second jobs issue. (We're only asking people to declare hours worked and money earned - what's wrong with that? Constituents can then decide whether or not they're getting value for money from a part-time MP).

I'm not convinced the daily allowance is the solution, and I voted against it last time, for some of the very reasons that are being put forward now ('clocking in' culture, unfair on people who want to devote more time to constituency than Commons work, lack of transparency in that no receipts are required). I seem to think I got rather a lot of flak for doing so at the time.

But now I think we've reached the stage where the imperative to scrap the second homes allowance is so strong, any alternative would be better. I see the PM's proposals as an interim measure until the full review is concluded at the end of the year.

Michael says he has only 'modest' expectations of sensible comments on his post. Mine are even lower. But have a look at what he says about the systems in other European countries before you rush to judgment.

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