Generous golden goodbyes for MPs

THE region’s MPs who were either defeated or retired at the General Election have received tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayer-funded golden goodbyes.

THE region’s MPs who were either defeated or retired at the General Election have received tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayer funded golden goodbyes.

Former Suffolk West MP Richard Spring heads the table with a pay-off of �64,766.

Known as a resettlement grant to help parliamentarians cope with life outside the Commons, the money is in recognition that their contracts have been terminated, either voluntarily or by being defeated.

Payments are based on age and length of service and are a percentage of an MP’s annual salary.

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Former members aged between 54 and 64 with at least 14 years service receive the maximum pay out of �64,766. Mr Spring was an MP between 1992 and 2010 and was 63 years old at the dissolution of Parliament.

John O’Connell, Policy Analyst at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, who carried out the research into the pay outs said: “This vast sum of money will be frustrating for taxpayers, particularly after the expenses scandal.

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“MPs should be aware that they are entering a contract with a fixed term – if they’re voted out it’s the end of the contract, not a redundancy. Besides, most of the MPs receiving this payment stood down voluntarily.

“The current recommendations for changing the system do not go far enough and would in some cases have made only a tiny difference this time around. With such a high turnover of MPs, we have an opportunity to really change things and see if politicians are serious about the new politics that we heard so much about in the election campaign.”

Other former Suffolk MPs receiving pay outs were Sir Michael Lord (Suffolk Central & Ipswich North), John Gummer (Suffolk Coastal) and Chris Mole (Ipswich) who were paid �32,383 each, and Bob Blizzard (Waveney) �53,403.44.

Former Home Secretary Charles Clarke (Norwich South) received �54,304.44, East of England minister Barbara Follett (Stevenage) �43,393.33, and Angela Smith (Basildon) �40,154.92,

Justifying the payments, the Senior Salaries Review Board said MPs “often experience considerable difficulty in finding new employment after leaving parliamentary office.”

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