back to article MPs get £2k home cinema on taxpayers

MPs are allowed to splurge up to £1,770 of taxpayers' money on home cinema equipment for their London pied à terre, it's been revealed, as part of the so-called "John Lewis* list". The document has been released as part of the ongoing scrutiny of the seemingly generous expenses or elected representatives grant themselves. It …

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  1. Rob
    Thumb Down

    So, according to that list then...

    They basically get to furnish their entire house, paid for by me. Gee thanks. I thought I elected you to stop all this frivolous spending and so you could pump cash into vital services but obviously the voting form says in small print somewhere "Please feel free to bend me over, rape me and rifle through my pockets for spare change at the same time."

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't wish to sound like I'm moaning...

    ...but why the fuck are MPs given such allowances anyway? It'd be simply lovely for me to be able to maintain a second home closer to work (my current commute is nearly 2miles!), so assuming I'll pay for the rent myself, how do I apply for general gadgetry funding?

    Of all the things that have pissed me off recently (people moaning about T5, Road congestion charges), this is right up there.

    There is absolutely no reason that MPs need this allowance to let them better server their constituents. If they want a second home, they should ensure they can afford it. If not, tough shit - deal with it like the rest of us have to.

  3. Eden

    So why...

    DO they need gold plated pensions and £160k salary when clearly they are provided for with everything they need on the tax payers back already =/

  4. hans
    Thumb Up

    IF you were an employee

    These would.

    1. have to be declared

    2. Be a taxable benefit

    3. Be taxed under gains on resale

    But if your an MP its gravy train all the way, why dont we outsource MP's to OIndia, get nothing done, but cheaper?

    This is what I pay my spirraling taxes for a lod of fat useless lying money laundering nepotistic twats.

    I want to opt out of being a Uk citizen and keep my taxes, i would do much better paying private rather than paying these nutters, would also give me a pension in my old age, time something is done says I...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    IT Security Consultant to MP

    Under the rules of IR35 I would not get away with hardly, if any of that.

    I want to be an MP!!!

    Vote for me!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thrifty!

    Workstation - £150

    You don't get much Unix for £150!

  7. Steve

    £750 TV

    And the justification for this is what, exactly?

    You can certainly make an argument that it's useful for an MP to be able to watch the News so he needs a TV, but can you really justify a 42" HD screen?

    http://www.johnlewis.com/230430277/Product.aspx

  8. Richard Abbott
    Alien

    Disgusting

    I find it disgusting that I pay my taxes...ALL of them and can barely afford a new sofa and yet they get all these things for free and worse off I am god damn paying for them!

    Will they buy me my new bed? TV? oh and new snowboard? (Put that under excercise equipment)

    Why do they get all these things when they are constantly losing our data, things of which if we did would send us to prision or be prosacuted!

    I am sick of having rich stuck up fat people telling us what to pay, getting things for themselves and not helping the average man. Tell me what makes them so special?

  9. Damian Gabriel Moran
    Unhappy

    oh so that is where my taxes go!

    I am not in the best of moods today, feeling quite belligerent and this is not helping!!!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Mine!!

    Seeing as how I have paid (at least a portion) for this, can I pop around and watch tv and lounge about on their sofa!!

    Mines the one with the brown envelope in the inside pocket!!

    The alien - cos they all are

  11. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Robbing from the poor and giving to the rich

    The rich in the UK don't pay much tax, they're supposed to but they have ways of getting around it. In fact the IR have even said they don't pursue people who have accountants.

    Given the recent abolishon of the 10% rate the tax burden has shifted to the low paid.

    There is no way politicians (well paid ones at that) should need tax payers to fund TVs and the like. If they're doing their work they won't have much time to watch them anyway.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    time we all became MP's

    all you need to say is YE YE YE and you get all that ?

  13. Mark

    Query:

    It seems to say that these limits are per year.

    So, for example, they can buy a new home theatre system each year as long as they don't spend more than £1,770.

    Since these abodes are supposed to be for the business of government, why don't they buy up a hotel or three, kit them out with a bed, TV, shower/toilet and have the MP's pick up a key for a room when they need it?

    And as an advantage, it's easier to secure, too, being only a few buildings rather than scattered premises needing looking after.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    bus-turds

    We need a new picture - one of pigs with ears back and feet and face in the trough..

  15. Hywel Thomas

    No particular objections

    The list possible has a few too many things on it, but honestly, I think our MPs should be able to have a decent standard of living while they're in town. They should also have access to equipment essential to their work, (as should we all).

    TV & radio are essential to an MP these days.

    It's not the salaries, it's not the allowances, it's the hypocrisy. It's not that they're getting these things (I think they should), it's that in the private sector, these things would be limited to a greater extent and taxed to high heaven.

  16. Mal Franks
    IT Angle

    I see no mention of a computer

    I'd have expected to see

    Computer - £4000

    So they can get a tri-SLI 8800GTX setup from Alienware to help them keep in touch with their constituents at (second) home.

  17. Trevor Watt

    WTF?

    Ummm, WTF? I am for once totally speechless......

  18. Andy S

    why should any of this be on expenses??

    I don't expect the company i work for to pay for any of my home goods, i have to buy them myself from my salary. There is a dress code where i work, if i can't meet that, i don't expect the company to buy me a suit and dry clean it for me, i would expect warnings about being fired if i didn't sort it. MP's should be exactly the same, they make at least 3-4 times the average wage so they're not exactly on the poverty line.

    Expenses are for things that are directly related to work, not luxury second homes

  19. Tim

    Re: IT Security Consultant to MP

    Exactly. Now I see what's allowed to be claimed for as expenses with 'public' money, I see no problem as a contractor in claiming for similar expenses with my own company's money, despite HMRC getting medieval on our asses for any such claims!

    Double standards. Pah!

    Right, I'm off to John Lewis to get me a £2k set up on the company :-)

    Of course *I* have to specify it's for business use (erm... presentations of course!). MPs don't!!!

  20. Simon
    Stop

    WTF?

    I just feel i am being screwed over for cash, now I know where some of my taxes are going.

    This is truly awful.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just for shopping in John Lewis

    I could be wrong but it apppears to me that they don't just get £23,000 a year to buy furniture with, they get £23,000 a year for their entire living expenses which includes hotel bills or rent or mortgage interest depending on how they choose to accomodate themselves when they're in London or their contituency (their permanent home will be near one or the other). £2,000 a month won't get you more than an okay one bedroom flat in central London.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    £750 TV?

    Doesn't sound that great. Surely the discerning fraudster er, politician would be used to TVs worth at least double that!

    Paris because you get a lot of her for £750

  23. Trevor Watt

    Re- Workstation/computer

    The 'Workstation' listed is just a desk, the computer, printer and all the other requirements come out of the MP's office expenses budget.

  24. Andy
    Flame

    £300 rugs?!!?!

    Hahahahaha, its lovely to see that the 4.5% Im paying on my student loan (now well over double what it was originally) is being thrown away on £300 rugs, because I can see how important it is for them to get NOT ONLY CARPET AND UNDERLAY, but a frigging RUG TOO!!!

    What a pile of shit... and they wonder why young voters are apathetic... strangely no one seems to wonder why we are so skint!

    Who the hell signed this one off? I know my boss wouldnt!

    Yours poorly,

    Andy

  25. Andy
    Unhappy

    at least...

    i now know where my petrol tax is going... w@nkers!!!!

  26. MikeC
    Flame

    Shopping Around

    In all honesty, these lists should be reviewed and then thrown in the bin. If they want a shredder, go to Stationary Box, they cost £15, not £50! Or get a hand operated one and they are about £5 tops!

    My Home Entertainment System hasn't cost £1700, because I shopped around, cost me a tickle over £1000! It's good to see my tax payments going to the use we're led to belive they are used for, such as the NHS (though surely they use my car parking fees for that), a decent education system (mmmrph, hurhur) and everything else they lied about in their manifesto!

    Think I'm going to run for Parliament, so I can claim benefits such as these and also so I can stand up on TV and call Gordon Brown, Badger Brows et al a bunch of Ham Shankers!

  27. Simon Ball

    Hmm

    To be fair, unlike most people, MPs have to split their time between two workplaces, which in some cases are geographically separated by a considerable distance. I wouldn't consider it reasonable to expect the MP for the north end of Northumberland to commute between his constituency and Westminister on a regular basis. Some accomodation has to be provided, and a flat is probably cheaper in the long run than putting an MP up in hotels all the time.

    However, having said that, there are easier and cheaper ways of doing it. I have to agree with Mark. A parliamentary appartment block, furnished to uniform standard with the basic essentials, bought in bulk, is all that is really necessary. Additional furnishings should be on the MPs own more than sufficient dime.

    At the very least, things like kitchen equipment and electronics ought to be ordered from the kinds of bulk supply catalogues that every other business/government agency uses.

  28. Dominic Williams
    Thumb Down

    MP'd

    Majorly p****d!

    I am glad i am not the only one who thinks this a joke. They already have a sweet deal, and all have nice homes. I am not yet a home owner, and it could be years before I ever am, and yet my taxes, are going towards them sorting out their second home...something is not right here! oh and four letters for you, I-K-E-A.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Not particularly looking for a row on a Friday afternoon, but…

    Not particularly looking for a row on a Friday afternoon, but… MPs are required to live in their constituency. In order to perform their job they also need to spend the majority of the working week in London. As we have yet to hear from anyone claiming that Northumberland to London is a reasonable daily commute I don’t see much wrong with expecting their employer to pick up the tab for living expenses. After all, if asked to work away from home we all expect the same.

    Yes they could all stay in hotels, but I expect that a flat works out considerably cheaper, a previous employer of mine maintained an estate of company houses for this very reason.

    As to the individual allowance for each item, I have spent more than that allowance on goods in almost every category, so I don’t see much wrong with PMs who have almost as an important job as me ;-) spending almost as much.

    Of much more interest are the rules governing disposal of theses assets at the end of the MPs time in office; anybody?

  30. Silas
    Alert

    REVOLUTION!!!!

    Seeing how all of these are tax free for the bastards, how about, for a laugh, we all just stop paying tax?

    Refuse to pay Council Tax, avoid wherever possible to file an income tax return and start using bartering as a method for getting goods and services so they don't get VAT.

    There isn't enough prison space for them to put everyone in.

    I am the revolution.

  31. Knowledge
    Go

    Lets do 'em!

    Meet you all in Whitehall Monday morning for a good old fashioned lynching!

    No, wait, better make that Monday afternoon so that there's actually some MPs around.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    The sad thing...

    ...is that because of the way government works this will never really change. The real questions should be how long has this been going on behind closed doors.

  33. Ash
    Pirate

    My depression's coming back

    I fucking hate this country.

    Yeah, that's pretty much it.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Two legs good - four legs bad

    They will have other expenses for computer equipment.

    They can still smoke at work as well.

    We don't live in a democracy that is for sure, we live in a corrupt bureaucracy with a selective legal system. Spin involves dividing the population on none partisan lines, the boot appears to be soundly stamping on the face of humanity.

    We only have ourselves to blame really - this mess could be sorted out in a month - it is quite simple, everyone just downs tools, the most persuasive non violent form of protest.

  35. Ed
    Happy

    John Lewis

    John Lewis are 'never knowingly undersold' so they'll meet or beat any price of a shop in the local area...

    http://www.johnlewis.com/Help/Help.aspx?HelpId=18

    That isn't to say they aren't expensive, but it might explain why they are considered to be a place to buy from for MPs.

  36. Tim
    Happy

    Also not looking for a rumble

    I'm all for frugality in the public sector but I don't think there's anything particularly unreasonable about this. Sticking MPs up in boarding school-style dormitories as some seem to be suggesting is hardly going to encourage them to give their best at Westminster.

    A perennial problem that the public sector has is attracting the best talent. I think we can see how hard this is by looking at the arseholes we have in government at the moment. Andy Burnham: would anyone here hire him for anything other than tea boy? Decent pensions go some way towards this but some allowances for London living for provincial MPs are important too.

    Far better than whining about this why not try to hold them to higher standards in the first place? Make them really accountable for what they do, make them deserve this kind of perk. Removing the perks is only going to ensure we have an even worse set of twats in the future.

    Sorry forgive the rambling I'm a bit pished after a lovely long Friday City lunch. Credit crunch just means buying crisps on the company Visa...

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Have your say

    I don't have a problem with any of this and I'm surprised to read the comments here - perhaps you meant to log onto the BBC's HYS? (*)

    I don't want an MP that would work for peanuts, and if I lived far from London I would not want an MP who would be willing to spend the week living in a squat for the priviledge of attending Parliament on my behalf.

    Perhaps it's hard for the little people to accept, but those of us who pull down a decent wage want MPs who are similarly able, and expect to pay accordingly. We expect to provide MPs with a nice, well furnished flat in London (unless they represent a consituency in or near there). Otherwise Parliament would be staffed only by the rich, the corrupt, and the obsessed. Not good.

    Of course, if you all vote for monkeys, then that's what we get. Such is democracy.

    Posted anonymously for fear of the mob.

    * for our American readers, you can see "Have Your Say" on the BBC website, and be amazed at how cretinous, indignant and mean-spirited the great British public is. You'll find that President Bush is responsible for all of humanity's ills, and that we deserve massive financial compensation.

  38. PaddyR

    Theiving B******s

    <total F****N RANT>

    bollocks to, *ooh, they need somewhere to live when they are in london* pish, they buy a fuckin house at our expense get it fully furnished for bugger all outlay, then when they no longer *serve* the country the fuckwits can sell the lot, lock stock and barrel and stick the profit in their back pockets, what a completely annoying list that is. Also, of course they just mentioned the other day that they will will now have to produce receipts for purchases over £25, what was the figure before....£250 thats more than twice some peoples weekly wage. what do they do for it, blow hot air up each others arses and pat industry on the back laying the groundwork for a job when they quit parliament, what a state this country is in

    </total F****N RANT>

    I think i need to go have a lie down, no icon as there isnt an animated gif of some good for nothing bastard getting the shit kicked out of them

  39. nologo
    Stop

    are you insane?

    i've not heard anything regarding this as bad news today...

    are changes going to be made now this infomation is out?

    if this has been going on..imagine what other benefits they get?

    this is just the tip of the iceberg...a total joke

  40. Mark

    @Tim and AC

    Who says it's a school dorm? Is that the ONLY sort of accommodation you get in hotels nowadays???

    And as for it being more expensive than flats, you forget that hotels have to be profitable and have to have enough space to contain the large summer tourist population and charge enough for this so that the mostly empty rooms at low season still produce the profit.

    But how much of a stretch is it to size the hotels for the *fixed number* of MP's? You could be a little riskier and assume that 90% of the time no more than 60% of the MP's are *in* London and size your accommodation appropriately.

    So getting on for 100% occupancy and no need to make a profit from it either.

    Much more finanically efficient.

    And all those MP homes are released (sold by the government to offset the current debt!) easing the housing congestion in London.

    As for not wanting someone willing to live in squat for the privilege of working in Parliament, you're forgetting:

    a) no need to have any qualifications for the job

    b) power. Heck, if Two Jags can get off with his secretary, it really IS the ultimate aphrodisiac!

    c) decent pay

    d) fabulous pension

    e) Gongs et al

    f) for MP's in the cabinet, a good chance of either EuroMP or director position set up for you

    g) if (f) fails, the Lords

    and would you want someone as your MP whose only concern is their monetary compensation and ease?

  41. Mike Richards Silver badge

    But on the upside...

    ...John Lewis is 'never knowingly undersold' so if any of our pork-barrelling representatives find their taxpayer funded lifestyle cheaper elsewhere, JL will refund the difference.

    Which is a morsel of comfort isn't it?

    Oh, no, it's not.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @PaddyR

    "£250 thats more than twice some peoples weekly wage".

    I'm sorry that some people earn very little money, but £23,000 a year expenses to live in central London really isn't over the top.

  43. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

    @Thrifty!

    I was considering asking what a work station is as it seems a little on the pawky side for such a pig trough of a list.

    Then I saw someone had answered it. Just a desk. A vital piece of equipment for an MP, I'd have thought. And the cheapest thing there besides the shredder. How come the shredder isn't office expenses?

    I have always thought that Guy Fawkes was the only decent British politician ever. A role model we should strive to emulate in every way and the source of a bloody good party afterwards too.

    The only problem is that blowing the gluttonous bastards up would be too easy on them. I would much prefer hanging drawing and quartering them.

  44. Andrew Smith
    Stop

    scrap it!

    MPs earn a decent wage (they are afterall public servants and not there for the money) get loads of money for an office and secretary, money for a second house, money to furnish that second house, £10k (each) to create a website about them plus travel expenses paid.

    Enough is enough. They should get far far less than that. They are just greedy bastards, I mean how do you justify getting £25k a year to furnish your second house? That's shit!

  45. PaddyR

    @Anonymous Coward

    *I'm sorry that some people earn very little money, but £23,000 a year expenses to live in central London really isn't over the top*

    tell that to someone working there earning £23,000 with no expense account

  46. Mike Banahan

    They have to commute between constituency and London

    No they f***ing don't. Not any more. Maybe in the 18th century when there wasn't telephones, emails and video conferencing they did, but just as my company has had to innovate and cut costs and move towards distributed management and telecommuting SO COULD THEY.

    In fact I'd love to see House of Commons votes run so that the MP MUST be in his or her constituency, in a hall with several hundred voters watching, for each parliamentary division. Then the lying corrupt creeps would have to explain exactly why they just voted for ID cards, or going into an illegal war, or whatever to some members of the public instead of hiding behind the whips or pretending 'it wasn't me'.

  47. Bob

    @ the cowardly anonymous b@stard!

    [quote]Perhaps it's hard for the little people to accept, but those of us who pull down a decent wage want MPs who are similarly able, and expect to pay accordingly. [/quote]

    You're an MP aren't you? you're a c*nt too :)

    [quote]We expect to provide MPs with a nice, well furnished flat in London (unless they represent a consituency in or near there). Otherwise Parliament would be staffed only by the rich, the corrupt, and the obsessed. Not good.[/quote]

    how is that different from what we have now? sod that, this country needs a big sign reading "out of order".

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Fine by me....

    I'm sure the electorate would be only too happy to award whopping salaries and generous 2nd house allowances to honest inscrutable individuals who really put public service first.

    Trouble is, we've got a barrel of monkeys running this country - get 'em out!

  49. Anigel
    Thumb Up

    @Mike Banahan

    hear hear

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Total Crap!

    Quote "I'm sorry that some people earn very little money, but £23,000 a year expenses to live in central London really isn't over the top"

    Yes it is when they are already earning 130k a year to look after there own interests, rather than what the public want.

    MP's are meant to be public servants, I've yet to see an MP from inner city Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, etc, give up the extra he/she earns to have a similar level of living to those they are "serving". Come on, they are only out for themselves.

  51. Charles Manning

    Thiis is a bargain!

    If you don't keep them entertained they'll just spend their time thinking up new taxes.

    2k quid is a bargain!

  52. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Pirate

    its the friday rant

    Its not the expenses thats really bothering me about our beloved leaders, its the fact that some of them employ friends and family as 'researchers' paid for by us muggins at 25k a time.

    Best thing to do for the UK would be either

    Everyone involved in manufacturing, the city of london and mining/oil production to go on strike(thats about 30% of the total workforce) because those areas make the UK the money to pay for other 70% or....

    We wait for all the mp's to be in parliment, get some big chain saws and cut parliment out from central London and let them float down the Thames with all the other turds

  53. Steven Jones

    Capital gains

    So after they've sold this second property after being turfed out by the electorate with the mortgage, furnishings and other expenses paid for by the taxpayer then they do, of course, have to return any capital gains made to the taxpayer and any residual value in the furnishings and other items? Nope - I thought not...

    A general truth, once anybody gets there hands on other people's money (whether politicians, bankers, lawyers, proponents of Olympic gems bids, you name it) then it will find an undeserving home.

    The most telling thing is the £300 free-standing mirror. Not that anybody is suggesting some politicians are a trifle narcissistic. I have to be fair - I'm pretty sure that neither Michael Foot or John Prescott ever made use of that particular allowance judging by their appearance.

  54. Andy S

    @anonymous coward

    "I'm sorry that some people earn very little money, but £23,000 a year expenses to live in central London really isn't over the top."

    you do realise that that's approximately the average salary in this country don't you?? you know, how much the majority of people in the country earn before its all taken in tax. And the f*ckwits get a huge salary on top of this!!! I wouldn't mind so much if they were required to attend parliament, but most of the buggers hardly ever even turn up unless something noteworthy is happening.

    I think that politicians would do a damn sight better in the job if they could only use public services. give them free public transport, make all the politicians commute by train/bus into London every day from all over the country and see how quickly the services improve.

  55. SpitefulGOD
    Gates Halo

    What's the problem??????

    When I lived on a council estate all the unemployeed havd 42" plasmas, latest games consoles and brand new fitted kitchens FOC, if you put it into the scheme of things this one off £100K?? per MP is nothing. You should be more concerned about where the majority of your tax is wasted

  56. Stratman
    Unhappy

    It's alright for some

    About fifteen years ago I earned just about the same as an MP's basic salary.

    I'm still in the same job but now earn about half of what one of those "Public Servants" trousers for his basic salary, and that's before he starts with his imaginative expense claims.

  57. Dale Morgan
    Thumb Down

    it makes no sense!

    Why are we buying them washing machines and giving them pocket money for dry cleaning?

  58. Mike
    Black Helicopters

    @SpitefulGOD

    Don't worry, the unemployed are on the list too.

    Just this article has got us focused on the fat cats troughing all they can out of the country for 22 weeks a year work, getting as much in tax free expenses as I earn before tax.

    The uprising will oust all of the spongers, freeloaders and crooks eventually, once those of us who work for a modest amount have been taxed so much that we've nothing to lose

    Viva la revolucion

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    Let's get real?

    OK. There are stereotypes and stereotypes and sometimes it is important to look at facts as they exist and run with an evidential basis.

    Let's consider, for example, Leeds in West Yorkshire.

    Leeds has some disgusting council accommodation. It is not the place you'd want to send your grandmother nor perhaps one of your off spring (into council tenancy I mean). It also had (and still has?) the most burgled street in the whole of Europe and has had that dishonour for many a year.

    Nitty-gritty: Central government has requested Leeds Council to send them a sum of £46.4 million out of social housing rent receipts. I am given to understand that it equivalates to each tenant in Leeds paying central government £16 per week (that is £16 per week per tenant when averaged out).

    Now then, what if Mr Darling decided to tax each homeowner by £6 per week per homeowner? What might happen then? Revolution?

  60. Frank Bough
    Alert

    If their entire lifestyle is funded under 'expenses'...

    ...then what the fuck is the fat SALARY supposed to be for?

  61. Richard L
    Paris Hilton

    Working Away From Home?

    Let's see, the last time I was working away from home as an IT Consultant I stayed in a flat rented by my employer, I think I received £7.50/day meals allowance (no other expenses allowed), and the television I managed to procure for my room was free through abusing Asda's 'no questions' asked returns policy. So the notional advantage to me was

    £7.5*4= £30 week (not paid for days that I ended up at home)

    £30*48= £1440/year (excluding holiday)

    Assuming taxed at 22% and NI at 10% (not all cons are anywhere near the top bracker) = £2118 pre-tax income to get this if it came out of taxable income.

    Travel was by train from London to Newcastle as it was £30 cheaper than flying from Gatwick (my employer only paid me for the time at work, and of course I could do 40 hours between Monday lunchtime and Friday afternoon) - the extra 6 hours travel was a *gift* by me to my employer.

    Compare to MPs

    £23,000 p.a .to *buy* second home

    £23,000 p.a. to furnish it

    Pre-tax income for a normal mortal to get this benefit:

    £46,000/0.59 = £77,966

    Monthly meals allowance (unreceipted) £400.

    Pre-tax income for a normal mortal to get this benefit:

    £400*12=£4,800/0.59=£8,135

    So that's a notional £86,101 in income that can be substituted for by expenses - without having to prove that they were incurred in the course of business, and they keep the stuff if they lose their jobs.

    Another employer, I have received a phone call from the outsourced expense department in Mumbai challenging a receipted £5.25 for breakfast as company policy was £5 or 'hotel breakfast price' - I was on site doing a major system upgrade at 5am before the hotel started serving, so I lost the 25p.

    I haven't gone into the benefit of employing their own family members either, and some people think this is ok as the poor darlings are underpaid. Given the voting record of my last MP before I buggered off overseas, the only work he did was to ask the government whip how to vote.

    Paris, because they obviously aspire to her level of budgetary control

  62. Eddie
    Paris Hilton

    Who voted for this greedfest?

    I'm pretty sure it wasn't the majority of UK voters.

    Paris, because she also has the skills for wafting through life at other people's expense with no obvious talent.

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Used to be free

    In the 1980's there was a dedicated department of the BBC, located in Power Road, Chiswick, W4 whose job was to procure, install and configure A/V equipment for MP's, Royals etc. at no cost (paid for by the license payers). This included those new fangled VCR's which also provided a lot of call out jobs for the Beeb techs.

  64. Slaine
    Paris Hilton

    what's the fat salary for?

    Well, I would have thought that was obvious, it's for converting into £50 notes to stick into the tight panties of their chosen professional escort for the night... what else is one going to do, stuck in London, with no real work to do? I think the custom is to give them out in pairs...it's called "sp*nking a monkey"

    ...jeez... and the Black Helicopter pilots worry about the odd derogatory comment that I type regarding these leaches... arhemmm, humans. This reward system pays out more than my fekkin salary as a freebie to furnish an unecesssary lovenest in the city. Haven't these fools heard of video conferencing?

    Just tune into UK parliament any weekday afternoon and see what sort of return we are getting from funding these f.......ff.f.f.f.f.f.f.f.f.fff-king spongers.

    You can guess where I'd rather stick the monkey.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Tim

    The only time MPs will ever be properly accountable to the people who voted for them will be when we have Single Transferable Voting for parliamentary elections.

    Which is why we'll never get it.

    http://www.electoral-reform.org.uk/article.php?id=103

  66. Ross

    Teachers

    [I'm sorry that some people earn very little money, but £23,000 a year expenses to live in central London really isn't over the top]

    Try telling that to the teachers working in central London...

    http://www.teachers.org.uk/salary/pay_calc_2008_inner_london.php

  67. Ishkandar

    Come on, guys, be fair !!

    They all have to watch Yes, Minister to learn their jobs, you know !! Those who fail the tests gets promoted to ministers !!

    As the saying goes - Those who can, do; those who can't, teach; those who can't teach, join the civil service; and those who can't join the civil service become MPs !! That was the message in the Yes Minister series !!

  68. Rich
    Flame

    Vote Respect then

    I think they expect any MPs to donate eveything above an average workers wage to the party.

  69. david

    who pays the TV licence?

    taxpayers pay the TV tax?

  70. Tony Paulazzo
    Unhappy

    Knowledge is Power

    Except it's not - it's a way to give us ulcers - 'Look what you could have won...' Wish I'd gone into politics now. Darling puts 2p extra on a litre of petrol, which my local petrol station implemented on the very same day, Phorm wants to spy on us with the blessing of the three largest ISPs...

    I don't see the politicos staying green when they drive from wherever to London (is the congestion charge part of their expenses?), they smoke inside whilst telling the rest of us to catch pneumonia doing it outside with no patio heating. I finally understand why insane people bash their heads on brick walls, they're just missing out the middle man.

    No accountability.

    & as to the guy who knows all these unemployed people with 42in HD TVs, I know quite a few myself, and not one of them even has a flatscreen tv, most have about a 28in CRT and that's because they're given away on Freecycle.

    Tony F Paulazzo.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I support this wholeheartedly!

    The nicer their homes are, the more they'll stay in them...

    ...which means they have less time to screw up the country.

  72. Mick Gower
    Thumb Down

    And when they fail to get re-elected, then what?

    What happens to all this stuff when the useless buggers fail to get re-elected? Does it get passed on to the next parasite? I bet it doesn't.

  73. Chris Taylor
    Dead Vulture

    I don't mind the expenses as such

    But do we really need over 600 of these people, and if we have to pay them, then surely it should be performance related

    Pay them a base salary of the average UK wage (about £23,000) and the rest they have to earn.

    Repealing / or enacting statues. £60,000 per law repealed.

    Reducing Public spending - 5% of each pound saved

    Improving the standard of living as reflected in a annual public satisfaction survey (of your constituents) £10,000 per % increase

    Voting in Parliament - £100 per vote

    Leaving the EU - priceless.

  74. Jay
    Unhappy

    'Never knowingly undersold'

    I was after a DVD player before Xmas and had some JL vouchers to spend. They wanted £280 for my unit of choice, but less than 2 miles away someone on Edgeware Road was offering the same unit as an in store only offer of £220. So I asked them to price match (with example links etc) and they called my back and told me to get stuffed...

    Still trying to spend my vouchers I was going to get a MacBook. But for some reason they only had the 2.16GHz models running Tiger, but for exactly the same amount of money I could get a 2.2GHz running Leopard from the Apple shop round the corner.

    I also attempted to get rid of the vouchers on a new LCD. However they still don't stock the model I wanted, but they quite happily flog the previous model.

    I've never known it so hard to spend money in a shop!

  75. Gary Day
    Paris Hilton

    Why should they OWN the house?

    The main thing I don't understand is why they get to own the house, as well as all the extra expenditure on top. Surely it would be more cost effective if the houses were owned by the government outright, perhaps each constituency has the house for example. That way whoever is the MP for a particular constituency would live in that house in London and then they would have to give it up when they leave. If all the interior was owned by the constituency as well then the amount spent every year on new items would be much less, or older items would be sold and put back into government spending. The way things are done now is completely atroshious and not the most financially productive way to do things. If the relationship was more like a Landlord to tennent, where the landlord covers the repairs and furnishing of the property but the tennent has to leave once their contract is up, it would probably be much fairer and put more money in the coffers for spending.

    Of course, the best way to improve things would be to improve the current stock of MPs and have decent people who do actually care about the country and would not spend the budget just for the sake of it. All expenditures should be made public knowledge (if they are spending tax payers money then tax payers should be notified how it is spent) and people should be allowed to question these spendings. An MPs dossier should also include their proposed expenditures and what the taxpayer will have to pay for them to run in government, that way if you think they will all be useless you could vote for the one that will cost less!!!

    Paris as she would probably be more competant than some of our MPs

  76. John A Blackley

    A few thoughts on the use of your money

    Some good arguments up there - as well as some amusing insults.

    A few thoughts here. The 'kitting out allowance' isn't the only source of money for MP's to feather their.....er, furnish their second homes. There are various other allowances available to them - including office allowance (which many of them take care to spend, no matter what their actual office expenses are) and straightforward expenses (for which MP's are not currently expected to account in the same manner as you and I).

    As for the "paying the money to attract the best" point of view. If anyone thinks that Britain's current crop of political representatives is "the best" then I've got a recruitment website I'd like to sell you.

    And then there's the "well there's only 600-odd of them" crowd. (The thought comes to mind that Sparta could've taken over the entire Mediterranean basin with that number.) No there isn't ("only 600"). That's only the ones who show up occasionally at Westminster. Then you have the Europols, the Scotpols (yes, you're paying for them too), the Welshpols, the N. Irelandpols, the regionalpols, the localpols, the towncouncilpols - each and every one of them on expenses that are coming out of your pocket.

    As you get to the end of your Monday (those of you who are working and not swanning around India on a six-month vacation from claiming child benefit) and head home in the twilight, knackered, think of how much you've earned today. Then think of how much of it's been taken from you to pay for your pols - at every level - and ask yourself, "Do I feel good about that?"

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    @PaddyR

    "I'm sorry that some people earn very little money, but £23,000 a year expenses to live in central London really isn't over the top."

    It's more than I earn in a year.

    In fact, to get that in London you would need to be at supervisor level or a graduate.

  78. Chris Hunt

    Hmmmm...

    I do not have a problem with paying MPs a decent salary for the job they do.

    I do not mind them being reimbursed for legitimate expenses that they incur.

    What I object to is that their expenses regime is radically different to anything the rest of us have to follow. Even if an employer were generous enough to lay out this kind of dough, there's no way the Revenue would wear it. What? Buy and kit out a London house for yourself out of untaxed income? Oh, and £400 a month's worth of grub to keep body and soul together?

    If Jo(e) Public has to cough up to the tax man for the "benefits in kind" acumulated whilst doing his/her job, why should MPs be any different?

  79. Dave Harris Bronze badge

    23K

    @Michael G, it's a shitload more than I earn in a year as well, but then again, I'm on a Malaysian salary (with a small UK stipend which is taxed). Also, most MPs are graduates, at least, if not with a Masters or PhD to their name. And I'd say being a legislator for a country with 60 million inhabitants and being a G7 member ranks alongside having a supervisory role.

    I have absolutely no problem with second home allowances for MPs. Outer London is fucking expensive now, let alone Central London. When I was living in SW London, my one bedroom flat was just shy of a grand a month and that was six years ago.

    Contrary to much of the crap above, MPs do NOT get to sell their second/London home and keep the profits unless they've bought it themselves in the first place. Not easy when, although they get c £60k *salary* a year, they also have to look after the mortgage on the primary, constituency-located home. And have no job-security past the next general election. Believe it or not MPs do sometimes have spouses and children to provide for as well.

    As for those saying they should all live together in the same place, well, surprise surprise, a lot of them do, it's called Dolphin Square, half hotel, half apartment block and it's in Pimlico (their wine's shit though). So all the security measures that need to be put in place at each MP's London residence have been done as a job lot for those staying there. But then again, would you want half your colleagues to live in the same apartment block as you? I thought not.

    What I do want (when I come back to the UK) is for my elected representative, whether my choice or not, to be able to represent me effectively, and that means someone who's well rested, unpressured by tawdry concerns over accommodation and can feel confident entertaining at home, when something can be discussed away from a formalised agenda. If that means he or she has a better stereo than me, or can put some nice furniture into the place they call home for five years, so be it.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Not sure how to word it...

    ...but I'd sign a petition calling on MPs to buy their own stuff :P

    http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/list/open?sort=signers

  81. blue
    Dead Vulture

    there's only one question left...

    do we hang 'em or do we shoot 'em.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    @Dave Harris

    Quote" What I do want (when I come back to the UK) is for my elected representative, whether my choice or not, to be able to represent me effectively"

    That is just the point. When was the last time an MP represented what the people want, and not what his/her party or personal preference wanted.

    Iraq War, Fuel Price Increases, Northern Rock, EU, ID Cards, increase in government red tape, extreme anti-terrorist laws - Can't rememeber seeing much public consultaion/taking notice of public opinion on any of these issues!

    Quote "when I come back to the UK", you hit the nail on the head - You don't live in this country!!!!!

  83. Slaine
    Boffin

    oi - yer Maj', dump these fools before yer country dies.

    I have come to realise that there simply isn't a word available in the entire english language (either of gaelic, anglo saxon or norman origin) that sufficiently imbues the requisite level of laziness, deceitfulness, arrogance, self-serving, selfishness, two-faced whoring, thieving, backstabbing, incompetent leaches that would be justifiable to describe a modern british parliamentarian. I propose the word "politician" for such a person, or "'tic" for short.

  84. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    hee hee?

    :)

    "do we hang 'em or do we shoot 'em?"

    How about forcing them to pay it all back :)

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