Thursday, 4 February 2010

MPs in 'honest and good value' shock

The headlines today are full of outrage at the £1.1 million that MPs have been asked to repay to Parliament after overclaiming on their expenses.

While this might sound like a lot of money, it relates to 750 MPs over a five year period.

That's a wallet-stuffing total of £293 per MP per year. The average (legitimate) expenses bill is over £118,000 - money which is spent (mostly on the salaries of not-very-well-paid staff) to ensure that Members of Parliament can properly represent you, their constituents. In other words, the average MP has overclaimed on their expenses by less than 0.25% (if you omit the MPs who don't need to repay anything, the average for the 389 remaning members is under 0.5%).

Given the strictness with which these retrospective rules are being applied, a quarter of a percent is an impressively low figure. I suspect that the record of MPs on expenses claims must be one of the cleanest of any profession in Britain, and probably about as good as any professional group anywhere in the world.

So can we expect them to be given a break now? What do you think?

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