Peter Hoskin

An unfashionable view

An unfashionable view
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MPs will soon have to show receipts for all expenses claims over £25.  After the Conway scandal, surely that's a good thing?  I think so.  Yet the press release sent out by Martyn Jones MP - and highlighted over at Red Box - does make some persuasive points against.  Here's the key passage:

"Monitoring an influx of allowance claim forms will require the Department of Finance and Administration to employ more staff for more hours. This department already costs £17,000,000 per year to run and has increased by over a third the amount of people it employs in the past twenty years.

I am not trying to say that MPs are above scrutiny – that is not the case. However there must be a better way to safeguard the public purse than having a mass bureaucracy to analyse and process every single receipt we touch.

Many of my colleagues have shown an interest in a random spot check, whereby a smaller bureaucracy would employ a full audit on only a few MPs expenses per year. This has to be a better system. It would save taxpayers real money, which could be devoted to providing real public service rather than the creation of a personal judge looking over every MP’s shoulder."

What do CoffeeHouers think?