MPs' perks to be curbed

REFORM of MPs' expenses moved a stage closer today when Sir Christopher Kelly outlined his proposals to a Westminster media conference.The main recommendations are:No reimbursement of mortgage interest payments or any other costs associated with the purchase of a property.

Graham Dines

REFORM of MPs' expenses moved a stage closer today when Sir Christopher Kelly outlined his proposals to a Westminster media conference.

The main recommendations are:

No reimbursement of mortgage interest payments or any other costs associated with the purchase of a property. In future only rent or hotel costs should be reimbursed.


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A commercial agency should be hired to provide and maintain rented accommodation for new MPs entering Parliament at the next election. Depending on its success, this will be extended to all MPs if successful.

Second home payments will continue to cover council tax, water, fuel, phones, contents insurance and removal at the beginning and end of a tenancy. However, costs of cleaning, gardening and furnishings are to end.

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MPs will not be reimbursed for second home costs if they live within reasonable commuting distance of Westminster. This is to be determined by an independent regulator, but is widely expended to set the limit to a one-hour or below commute.

Any future capital gains in the value of accommodation purchased with the help of public funds to be surrendered to the Exchequer.

MPs will not be allowed to employ members of their own families as staff and paying them from public funds. Those currently employing family members should be able to continue to do so for the life of one further Parliament or five years, whichever is the longer.

The communications allowance is to be abolished, ending taxpayers funding of MPs' newsletters.

The resettlement grant of up to nine months' pay for MPs is to be kept for those who lose their seats at a General Election, as the result of deselection or because of boundary changes, but scrapped for those who voluntarily stand down, who will instead receive eight weeks' pay.

Receipts will be required for all travel claims. There will be a ban on claims for travel to or from homes which are not in or close to MPs' constituencies.

The independent regulator will be given statutory responsibility for setting MPs' pay levels and overseeing MPs' pensions as well as for dealing with expenses.

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