Monday, February 23, 2009

MEPs and their big, fat perks

The Taxpayer's Alliance have a new report out on MEP expenses. The first part consists of the Galvin Report into MEP corruption, which was kept in a locked room and only allowed to be read by a few select EU personnel.

You won't find the following on the above link, but it appears in the press release circulated this evening...
The Galvin Report, named after Robert Galvin, the Internal Audit Official whose name is on its front cover, was written at the end of 2006 as an audit of the expenses and allowances claimed by a sample of more than 160 MEPs. The existence of the report was kept secret until February 2008 when news of its existence was made public by Chris Davies MEP. Even then, its contents remained secret and a select group of MEPs were only allowed to read the report individually in a locked and guarded room. Now published for the first time by the TaxPayers' Alliance, its findings include:
  • Serious and repeated anomalies in payments for office assistance and services, including money being paid to seemingly irrelevant firms (including a creche and a company engaged in "the trading of wood"), and to companies which on further investigation did not exist, were untraceable or had registered no financial activity in their accounts. Some MEPs were found to be paying out their full assistance allowances, but had no assistants accredited or registered with the Parliament.

  • A culture of huge "bonuses" being paid to staff members or handling firms at the end of the financial year, ranging from 3 times to 19 and a half times the employees' monthly salaries. Large "layoff" payments were also made to MEPs' staff without justification being provided.

  • Loose rules which allow payments to be made without invoicing, and only require bills to be provided 12 months after payment. The audit found that less than 5% of audited accounts actually submitted the required documentation by that 12 month deadline.

  • Widespread failure to comply with tax, company and social security laws. 79% of transactions that should have been subject to VAT displayed no evidence of either VAT payment or exemption. 83% of the companies through which MEPs paid their allowances for office services failed in their legal obligation to register with the Belgian national company database. 90% of contracts for self-employed staff had no evidence of legally required social security payments being made. 26% of assistants and 64% of paying agent firms used to employee staff displayed no evidence of social security payments being made.

  • Evidence of MEPs using their allowances and expenses to bankroll their political parties is also revealed. Many MEPs make set monthly payments to their own political party for secretarial support, but receive varying numbers of staff in return, which raises questions over whether the payments are really simply donations. Some MEPs are found to be claiming for projects such as web sites that are actually promoting their political party rather than their work as an MEP.

Given the amount that our MPs defraud the taxpayer, these revelations about MEPs—whom we have always suspected of living high on the hog far in excess of their national counterparts (and that's saying something)—are hardly surprising.

Depressing?—yes. Appalling?—yes. Surprising?—absolutely not.

And on to the second part of the TPA report, which discusses the vast pay rise which MEPs can expect after the next Euro-elections.
How an MEP can become a millionaire, and their planned 47% pay rise

New research for the TaxPayers' Alliance and The Great European Rip-Off reveals that MEPs stand to get a 47% increase in their take home pay this year. Through a combination of increasing pay levels, a new lower tax rate for all EU officials and the plunging value of the Pound to the Euro, politicians in Brussels will see their pay rise hugely despite the rising unemployment being suffered by their consituents. As well as their soaring pay, the new book demonstrates that over and above their salaries an MEP can personally earn a further £1 million during a typical Parliamentary term through their generous allowances and expenses. The research note can be read here [PDF].

Key Findings:
  • After the European Elections in June 2009, British MEPs stand to get a 47% increase in their take home pay. MEPs currently earn the same as a Westminster MP, £63,291, on which they pay British income tax of 26%, leaving them £46,835 in take home pay. Three crucial changes in their pay arragements will increase their salaries sizeably:

    1. After June, all MEPs will move to a new, standardised salary of €91,980—at 2008 exchange rates, that is a pay rise of 16% to £73,584.

    2. At the same time, they will cease to pay British income tax and will instead pay a new, reduced EU tax of only 15%, boosting their take home pay to €78,183. At 2008 exchange rates that means their after-tax pay will increase from £46,835 to £62,546—a 33% rise.

    3. The new MEPs' salary will be paid in Euros, which have gained greatly in value against Sterling since 2008. If exchange rates stay at around €1:88p, then MEPs will gain a further increase in take-home pay to £68,801. Going from earning £46,835 in take home pay currently to £68,801 under the new arrangements is a 47 per cent rise.

  • It has been calculated that due to the generosity and laxity of the MEPs' allowances, expenses and pensions system, it is possible for an MEP to personally save enough money to become a millionaire over their 5-year term.

I think that it is time for a rallying cry and, as they go, I think that one of my bus slogans was rather good...
Our leaders are corrupt, useless cunts.
We are losing our jobs: it is time that they lost theirs.

Am I the only one sick to fucking death of these talentless fuckers dipping into our pockets the whole time? Surely not.

When is the revolution?


North Northwester said...

"Through a combination of increasing pay levels, a new lower tax rate for all EU officials"

..Got it, thanks.
They are an aristocracy.

Like the chav classes they neither sow nor do they reap. They just take.

At lease the Normans came up with Magna Carta and the Common Law.
And some pretty nice cathedrals.

Still, did you see what the Pre Menstrual wrote in the Unobserver and the Cowardly Custodes yesterday? Did you?

Now, THERE'S cheek for you.

Anonymous said...

Revolution begins april 1st

Letters From A Tory said...

The only defence they have is that obviously some of them do need staff for some activities. Beyond that, this report makes for disgusting reading and just goes to show that not only is the EU fundamentally corrupt, the very fact that this report was leaked rather than published shows that those in charge have no intention of moving from the status quo.

What's that saying about troughs and snouts?

Guthrum said...

Tuesday at 3pm

Anonymous said...

This is endemic and institutional corruption.

Anonymous said...

The setup of the EU must change for the while of Europe, or revert back to a trading group. Failing that we leave the corrupt setup, this might prompt other countries to do the same.

Anonymous said...

pete-s, the EU was never just a "trading group" so it cannot "revert back" to one.

Nor can it change from being a political union - this is a delusion of British europhiles and the Tories. And until most people in the UK understand this, we will be stuck in the EU.

A civil servant explained to me that the UK government's policy on the EU was like a supertanker: it was set in motion in the 1960s and it will take something mighty to deflect it.

Anonymous said...

Budgie, in the 70's it was sold to us British as a trading group. I know this was false and Heath at the time deliberately lied, knowing the British would not vote for it if we had been told the truth.

Henry North London 2.0 said...

Ash Wednesday

Anonymous said...

They make me sick! Greedy, corrupt bastards....

Anonymous said...

Lamp-posts ... piano-wire ... may be too gentle for them.

Chainsaw ?

RobW said...

Soon one hopes.

Also DK -- this will make you very, very angry. I thought of you as soon as I read it...

John's New Blog said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't we fight a long and protracted war (1939-45), so that we wouldn't be rule by a European dictatorship?

Dick the Prick said...

What a fucking gig.

Roger Thornhill said...

Just imagine if any company tried to do this for one VAT reporting window. NAILED. Just imagine if one company employee tried this. Next PAYE? NAILED.

Yes, they want to be an aristocracy. Pure Socialist thinking root, trunk, branch and tip. They rail against the "elites" not because the idea of elite is wrong, but because they are not it.

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