Sunday, 24 February 2008

At the Trough of Plenty!

Poor old Michael Martin MP and House of Commons Speaker – he’s been knocked about by the press for his own expenses claims, and now this weeks Private Eye has highlighted the expenditure of the House of Commons Commission, a committee Martin chairs. Here’s a few “blank cheques” which have passed through the committee’s accounts:

Since 1990 the Commission has spent £234m on office space.

It is currently spending £5.4m on additional space for MP’s

It spent £422,000 on a glass walkway so MP’s would not get wet when walking from their parked cars

An energy efficient motion sensor for their escalators cost £327,000 to install

The Commission employs more than 80 people on £60,000+ salaries

The Commission has been buying art work, its current budget being £188,124.68. It is currently buying works from the family of the late Lord Stratford i.e. Tony Banks MP.

Since 2003, the Commission has spent £1.25 on legal fees, including advice on MP’s allowances and fees!

Two reviews of expenses problems cost £50,000 in legal bills.

The Commission spent £10m on library services last year alone

The cost to run, manage and administered MP’s carbon offset scheme, controlled by the Commission, is £26,025.50.

Clearly, allowing MP’s to monitor their own remuneration package is like putting Jeffrey Archer in charge of a brothel: every so often their going to dip in for a freebie! Whilst sporting clubs, voluntary groups and charities wither in the financial drought that has been caused by Olympic over spending, MP’s continue to hang round the pool, having great fun at our expense.

How can we expect Councillors and officials to behave with financial decorum, when their bosses at the top are setting such an agenda?

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