Monday, January 19, 2009

A gentle chiding...

Your humble Devil generally approves of Douglas Carswell, and he is spot on in his post about MP attempting to hide their expenses from the taxpayers who shell out for them.

However, I would take slight issue with the language used in sentences such as these...
How dare the Westminster establishment seek to exempt themselves from the laws that they have inflicted upon the rest of the country?

  1. Over the past decade, they inflict massively high taxation on the country - but then award themselves de facto tax-free salary raises aka expenses.

  2. They unilaterally exempt themselves the laws they themselves have passed. For example over all-women short lists and equality legislation.


It's time to make the political establishment in Westminster answerable to the rest of the country—and, as Daniel and I propose in our book, The Plan—they can start by living under the same set of rules as everyone else. Apart from being able to say what they want without fear of being sued, or arrested by the police for holding government to account, MPs ought to live pretty much like the rest of us as citizen lawmakers.

If that happens, perhaps our political masters might look more favourably at having lower taxes, less intrusive legislation—and they'd be viewed with a little less contempt.

Who is this "they" you keep referring to, Douglas? I think that the word that you are looking for is "we": you are one of the "they", Douglas.

Amongst other things, you have never voted on the issue of a transparent Parliament: why? I would have thought, after all, that it would be a priority issue for you.

As for tax-free expenses... well, I quite agree with you. However, that hasn't stopped you making extensive use of your own allowances.
  • Additional Costs Allowance: £18,953 (423rd)

  • London Supplement: £0

  • Incidental Expenses Provision: £21,940 (188th)

  • Staffing Allowance: £85,598 (273rd)

  • Members' Travel: £6,974 (joint 342nd)*

  • Members' Staff Travel: £165 (341st)

  • Centrally Purchased Stationery: £761 (385th)

  • Stationery: Associated Postage Costs: £3,218 (262nd)

  • Centrally Provided Computer Equipment: £1,196 (121st)

  • Other Costs: £0

  • Total: £138,805 (304th)

* Car £480 (567th). Rail £3,084 (260th). Other £3,410 (7th).

Also missing from your post is a promise to publish all of your expenses, regardless of what the FoI law says, on your website. Will you undertake to do this?**

Or is this simply another MP urging others to "do as I say, not do as I do"...? Douglas? Douglas?


UPDATE: if you would like to get more detail on this disgusting scam, as well as a detailed breakdown of the staggering number of things that MPs can put down on expenses (and I recommend that you do), then this Letters From A Tory post is pretty damn good.

Whilst doing so, do remember to bear in mind that were private employers to offer many of these perks to us, their employees, we would have to pay tax on them as benefits-in-kind.

** As, for instance, any elected LPUK representatives would.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Why is there an "Additional Costs Allowance" AND an "Incidental Expenses Provision"? What is the difference?