Let’s face it. Parliament has become to some another of those monopoly nationalised industries that Labour always think work in the public interest, but which the public love to hate. People pay through the nose for the subsidised nationalised industries whether they use the service or not. The service is often not up to the standard they want. Now there are similar criticisms of the cost and performance of Parliament.
Tackling it is not easy. As perhaps the keenest advocate of competition as a force for better quality and lower cost, even I do not want competing legislatures. Indeed, I would dearly love it if we could stop the EU legislating, as the last few years of “cooperating” legislatures on both sides of the Channel has left us chronically over-governed and over regulated.
Any sensible MP must see that the public no longer thinks they are getting good value for the money they have to spend on keeping Parliament going. This is just the tip of the iceberg of the problem of public sector waste. There are thousands in senior positions across the rambling public sector spending generous expense allowances with little public scrutiny. There will be thousands in management of the public sector watching the clock and demanding more help to carry out their work.
MPs’ performance, however, matters even though it is a small part of a general problem, because it is so public, and because MPs, especially ones who are Ministers, need to set a standard and a tone for the rest of the public sector to follow.
Parliament, like the rest of the public sector, in the last ten years has set about reducing its productivity and increasing its costs. This is the very opposite of what has happened in the increasingly competitive world of the private sector.
I recommend that you go and read the rest, as Redwood sets out a few ideas for how Parliament might attempt to give the taxpayers rather better value for money.
Oh, and he does actually respond to comments too. Which is nice.