MPs’ expenses: system ‘deeply flawed’, says Sir Thomas Legg

Well it seems someone else thinks the expenses system is flawed, personally I think they should not get any expenses, are they not paid enough?

MPs’ expenses: system ‘deeply flawed’, says Sir Thomas Legg

Report reveals MPs have so far repaid £800,000 of second home expenses

Sir Thomas Legg’s inquiry into MPs’ spending over five years today concludes there was a ‘culture of deference’ in which fees officials felt obliged to pay MPs’ claims regardless of the evidence. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA

MPs have today been condemned for the widespread misuse of their expenses in a “deeply flawed” system in which many wrongly believed they were entitled to extra money to supplement their income.

Sir Thomas Legg’s inquiry into MPs’ spending over five years today concludes there was a “culture of deference” in which fees officials felt obliged to pay MPs’ claims regardless of the evidence they presented and in some cases the rules of the system.

Out of £55.5m spent on second-home expenses during the years under review, 390 MPs have been ordered by Legg to repay a total of £1.3m. Some £800,000 has been received and around £500,000 is still outstanding.

More than half – 52% – of the 752 current and former MPs who were investigated have been asked to repay cash.

The largest sums ordered to be repaid by sitting MPs – after appeals are taken into account – were: £42,458 by communities minister and Stevenage MP Barbara Follett, £36,250 by Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative MP for North Essex, £31,193 by Andrew MacKay (Conservative MP for Bracknell), £29,398 by John Gummer (Tory MP for Suffolk Coastal), £29,243 by MacKay’s wife Julie Kirkbride, MP for Bromsgrove, and £24,878 by shadow defence secretary and Woodspring MP Liam Fox.

The report highlights MPs buying and renting homes from relatives and friends, acts which it says breached “propriety”.

But it also heaps blame on the Commons fees office, saying the relationship between fees officials and MPs was “symbiotic” in the now discredited process. The system was “flawed” and the rules were “vague”. Decisions taken by the fees office “lacked legitimacy” and many were “mistaken”.

The controversy over MPs’ expenses erupted in May last year when the Daily Telegraph started publishing the details of claims that the parliamentary authorities were trying to keep secret. Legg, a former Whitehall mandarin, was asked to review all existing claims. Sir Paul Kennedy, a former judge, was asked to consider appeals from MPs against their payments.

Kennedy’s report, also published this morning, reveals that 51 of the 73 MPs who appealed against orders to repay expenses, have won their appeals or had the amount they had to pay back reduced. He has reduced the £1.3m bill MPs have to repay by £185,000.

His report clashes with Legg’s judgments, and he was said to be sympathetic with MPs who have had to pay back expenses on gardening and cleaning bills after Legg retrospectively imposed a cap, and with others who complained they were not allowed to make representations to Legg’s inquiry.

Kennedy’s report says that in some circumstances decisions to retrospectively change the system were “damaging, unfair and wrong”.

Overall official figures released today show that MPs spent a total of £95,576,589.18 on all expenses in April 2008-09. Fifty-one MPs claimed the maximum allowable for second homes. Mohammed Sarwar, the Labour MP for Glasgow Central, spent the most that year: £192,986.87. Sir Michael Spicer, Conservative MP for West Worcestershire, spent the most on communications: £24,817. And Eric Joyce, MP for Falkirk, spent the most on travel: £38,550.

Separately Sir Christopher Kelly, a former permanent secretary, was asked to review the system of expenses and then Sir Ian Kennedy, former head of the Healthcare Commission, was asked to set up the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) to revise then run a new expenses system. They too have clashed after Kelly accused Kennedy of softening his proposals.

A growing row over the conduct of the review – some MPs have publicly criticised the process today – is threatening to stretch the saga out despite pleas from senior politicians for MPs to pay up and put an end to it.

The Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Legg’s process had been “sloppy” while Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said the review had been “lazy, incompetent and illogical”.

This morning, David Cameron said he hoped that today would “draw a line” under the whole row. “That will help us to move on and actually build a parliament that people can trust.”

John Bercow, the Speaker, said: “We are witnessing the last remaining reels of a particularly grisly horror movie. It’s been painful to observe, but the pain has been necessary.”

Parliament has also today published expenses claims dating from April 2008 to June 2009 on a new searchable database designed to bring greater transparency to the system. Separately, details of MPs’ bookings of private dining rooms from 2004-09 will be published after claims some had been using the Commons facilities to fundraise for their parties.Well it seems someone else thinks the expenses system is flawed, personally I think they should not get any expenses, are they not paid enough?

MPs’ expenses: system ‘deeply flawed’, says Sir Thomas Legg

Report reveals MPs have so far repaid £800,000 of second home expenses
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Polly Curtis, Whitehall correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 4 February 2010 11.09 GMT
Article history

Sir Thomas Legg’s inquiry into MPs’ spending over five years today concludes there was a ‘culture of deference’ in which fees officials felt obliged to pay MPs’ claims regardless of the evidence. Photograph: John Stillwell/PA

MPs have today been condemned for the widespread misuse of their expenses in a “deeply flawed” system in which many wrongly believed they were entitled to extra money to supplement their income.

Sir Thomas Legg’s inquiry into MPs’ spending over five years today concludes there was a “culture of deference” in which fees officials felt obliged to pay MPs’ claims regardless of the evidence they presented and in some cases the rules of the system.

Out of £55.5m spent on second-home expenses during the years under review, 390 MPs have been ordered by Legg to repay a total of £1.3m. Some £800,000 has been received and around £500,000 is still outstanding.

More than half – 52% – of the 752 current and former MPs who were investigated have been asked to repay cash.

The largest sums ordered to be repaid by sitting MPs – after appeals are taken into account – were: £42,458 by communities minister and Stevenage MP Barbara Follett, £36,250 by Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative MP for North Essex, £31,193 by Andrew MacKay (Conservative MP for Bracknell), £29,398 by John Gummer (Tory MP for Suffolk Coastal), £29,243 by MacKay’s wife Julie Kirkbride, MP for Bromsgrove, and £24,878 by shadow defence secretary and Woodspring MP Liam Fox.

The report highlights MPs buying and renting homes from relatives and friends, acts which it says breached “propriety”.

But it also heaps blame on the Commons fees office, saying the relationship between fees officials and MPs was “symbiotic” in the now discredited process. The system was “flawed” and the rules were “vague”. Decisions taken by the fees office “lacked legitimacy” and many were “mistaken”.

The controversy over MPs’ expenses erupted in May last year when the Daily Telegraph started publishing the details of claims that the parliamentary authorities were trying to keep secret. Legg, a former Whitehall mandarin, was asked to review all existing claims. Sir Paul Kennedy, a former judge, was asked to consider appeals from MPs against their payments.

Kennedy’s report, also published this morning, reveals that 51 of the 73 MPs who appealed against orders to repay expenses, have won their appeals or had the amount they had to pay back reduced. He has reduced the £1.3m bill MPs have to repay by £185,000.

His report clashes with Legg’s judgments, and he was said to be sympathetic with MPs who have had to pay back expenses on gardening and cleaning bills after Legg retrospectively imposed a cap, and with others who complained they were not allowed to make representations to Legg’s inquiry.

Kennedy’s report says that in some circumstances decisions to retrospectively change the system were “damaging, unfair and wrong”.

Overall official figures released today show that MPs spent a total of £95,576,589.18 on all expenses in April 2008-09. Fifty-one MPs claimed the maximum allowable for second homes. Mohammed Sarwar, the Labour MP for Glasgow Central, spent the most that year: £192,986.87. Sir Michael Spicer, Conservative MP for West Worcestershire, spent the most on communications: £24,817. And Eric Joyce, MP for Falkirk, spent the most on travel: £38,550.

Separately Sir Christopher Kelly, a former permanent secretary, was asked to review the system of expenses and then Sir Ian Kennedy, former head of the Healthcare Commission, was asked to set up the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) to revise then run a new expenses system. They too have clashed after Kelly accused Kennedy of softening his proposals.

A growing row over the conduct of the review – some MPs have publicly criticised the process today – is threatening to stretch the saga out despite pleas from senior politicians for MPs to pay up and put an end to it.

The Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that Legg’s process had been “sloppy” while Tory MP Ann Widdecombe said the review had been “lazy, incompetent and illogical”.

This morning, David Cameron said he hoped that today would “draw a line” under the whole row. “That will help us to move on and actually build a parliament that people can trust.”

John Bercow, the Speaker, said: “We are witnessing the last remaining reels of a particularly grisly horror movie. It’s been painful to observe, but the pain has been necessary.”

Parliament has also today published expenses claims dating from April 2008 to June 2009 on a new searchable database designed to bring greater transparency to the system. Separately, details of MPs’ bookings of private dining rooms from 2004-09 will be published after claims some had been using the Commons facilities to fundraise for their parties.

Any other workplace would of sacked the for misappropriation of funds, they have stolen from the taxpayers in our country.
Claiming for things like re-seeding of lawns is despicable, the average wages these thieves are on range from £60k per year, surely they can afford more than the average person, but no they squeeze what they can out of the people and do nothing in return.
All they have done is bring a once great country to its knees, bankrupt and owing every one else money whilst living on expenses paid for by us.

DIRTY ROBBING BASTARDS

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About englishwarrior

I am and Englishman who is fed up with the way the Government and others treats the people of England

Posted on February 4, 2010, in dirty robbing bastards, expenses, parliament, political view, politics and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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