Tuesday, 21 April 2009

What the world's been waiting for (2)

Just a postscript on this: watching Newsnight at the moment (which is becoming something of a tired old joke these days, at least when Paxman's on it).

Didn't take long for the backlash to start, did it - MPs being paid on top of their wages 'just for turning up', etc, etc. That's another reason why I voted against this suggestion last year, but also because the whole thing wasn't thought through. Tony Wright has just said on Newsnight that last time this came before the House we 'made a complete botch of it'. Yes.

If we are to go down the daily allowance route, which is the one bit of the announcement where I have some reservations, we somehow we need to make clear this isn't a payment just for turning up to work. It's an allowance to cover the additional costs which that entails (for some, not all of us), such as overnight accommodation.

Some people seem to be suggesting that MPs might claim the money and then, for example, crash on someone's sofa, thus making a bit of money on the side. When my father worked for a well-known furniture removal company on their European moves, the men got given a daily allowance for a hotel and food. They'd spend it all on beer and sleep in the van. Obviously it was more comfortable on the way out, when they had beds in there. I won't be emulating him, I can assure you.


timbone said...

Work as a freelance musician has sometimes entailed working away from home for more than one day. This means that on top of my performing fee I receive an allowance for extra expense. It is prudent and acceptable to, if possible, get acoomodation and food with nearby friend or family which leaves change from the expenses which stay in one's pocket as a bonus.

However, if I was employed full time with a particular touring company, or I was on a contract away from my normal place of residence - even a five year contract - then my salary would include the extra expense of having to work away from home.

Is this not the case for an MP, or should it not be the case?

Kerry said...

In that case, MPs who represent London seats should get paid less than the rest, shouldn't they? They don't. In fact they get an additional London allowance.

Anton Howes said...

Hmmm I quite like the "dorm" idea that some people suggested (especially the audience on Question Time - the one with Eric Pickles' Crash'n'Burn I think).

...even if just for the fun of hearing about opposing MPs having to share rooms.

Flat rate is wrong - I agree with you there.

Frankly, your wages should be increased and your expenses cut. End of. Maybe they should just have higher wages according to "zones" of distance or ease of travel from Westminster. Wouldn't exactly be hard to do.