MPs to lose expenses perks

A DRASTIC overhaul of MPs' expenses in the wake of public anger at how they claim for tens of thousands of pounds for second homes, bath plus, and flat screen plasma televisions is set to be introduced next week.

Graham Dines

A DRASTIC overhaul of MPs' expenses in the wake of public anger at how they claim for tens of thousands of pounds for second homes, bath plus, and flat screen plasma televisions is set to be introduced next week.

Gordon Brown believes that parliament is becoming so debased by excessive claims that he has decided to act decisively to stop the issue overshadowing his government's policies on the recession.

In a written Commons statement, Commons leader Harriet Harman gave details of the government's proposals:


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MPs with constituencies outside London: the personal additional accommodation expenditure know as the second home allowance, will be abolished and replaced by a flat-rate daily allowance, based on actual attendance at Westminster on parliamentary and government business or the business of the opposition frontbenches. This will be limited to the Parliamentary session or a maximum number of days. There will be no claims for food, furniture and fittings, fuel, mortgage interest, rent or council tax.

MPs with constituencies within reasonable distance of Westminster: the personal additional accommodation expenditure will be replaced by the London supplement, which already applies to inner London MPs.

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Ministers with 'grace and favour' homes: they will continue to pay council tax and tax on the benefit of living in this accommodation but will not receive the new flat rate allowance.

MPs' staff: in future all staff appointed by MPs without exception will become direct employees of the House of Commons, which would become centrally responsible for their employment terms and conditions, their contracts, and the payment of their salaries within the limit allowed, and will have the right to make an independent assessment of such contracts.

Full receipts - there will be a requirement for receipts for claims for all remaining transactions (for office costs, travel, and communications), including those under �25.

MPs' second incomes: where MPs have a second source of income from second jobs, irrespective of whether it is in their capacity as an MP, every payment shall be declared with a full description of who paid and what for.

Pensions: MPs' contributions will increase by around �60 per month for the current year and to extend the scheme's pension limit of two thirds of final salary to all scheme members for future service.

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