05 February 2008

MP's expenses and pay - a simple solution

Two problems: (1) Members of Parliament are paid a salary which is too low to attract talented people; (2) Members of Parliament have expense allowances which are not transparent/are misused.

Solution: Roll up the the total salary paid to an MP together with the total amount which could be claimed via allowances (adjusted for London MPs smaller housing allowance) and place the entire amount for each MP into an account to be operated by that MP. The MP should then be free to use this budget as he or she sees fit (in connection with his/her activities as an MP), including to boost his or her own pay. Clearly, the bigger the salary, the smaller the budget for other things.

This solution would mean that there would be no incentive for MPs to employ family members in jobs to boost the family finances artificially. It would also make it much easier for MPs to pool resources - share staff and subscribe to centralised services. Not having set amounts to be claimed for certain activities would make MPs more businesslike and encourage them to shop around for the most efficient service and thus stretch their budget the furthest. This amount could then be increased each year in line with inflation, but then it would be up to each MP to set his/her own pay. Might make for some interesting decision making....

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