Monday, 25 May 2009

MPs expenses

I have deliberately not commented on every twist and turn of the MPs expenses scandal as I don't have the time and I would have run out of bile some time ago but the news today that nine Labour Cabinet Ministers have claimed for accountancy advice on their expenses is worthy of comment. Leaving aside the specifics for the moment, it seems to me that many MPS saw their salary as "theirs" and all "expenses" as reclaimable. In the real world a person is paid a salary and has to live on that salary, spending taxed income on travelling to and from work, on housing costs, on utility bills, on food and cleaning etc. etc. etc. In the world of many MPs it seems that everything was claimable and that was just plain wrong.

On this specific case, it seems that nine Labour Ministers claimed for accountancy advice on preparing their tax returns. This really hits home when you read that as well as Jacqui Smith, Hazel Blears, David Miliband, James Purnell, Douglas Alexander, Geoff Hoon and Hilary Benn and one unnamed Minister the same claim was put forward by Alistair Darling (the pretend Chancellor). When the front-man/fall-guy for Gordon Brown's economic failures is "allowed" to claim for taxation advice then you know the people using the expenses system have no shame. Gordon Brown and his minions have spent 12 years making the UK tax system more and more complicated, compliance more onerous and the penalties for making a mistake more and more serious and yet the people who enthusiastically called Gordon Brown an economic genius were able to claim as expenses for the tax advice they received.

Many MPs seem to have no shame but when you have a Cabinet that seems united only by greed and the fear of the electorate's response, what hope is there of an election to cleanse Parliament?

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