Archive for March 13th, 2008

Expensive M.P’s

How’s this then from The Guardian.co.uk, ‘John Lewis list of M.P’s allowances’‘Claims MPs can make on their parliamentary expenses to furnish their second homes:

Air conditioning unit: £299.99

Bed: £1,000

Bedside cabinet: £100

Book case/shelf: £200

Bookcase/cabinet: £500

Carpet: £35 per square metre

Carpet fitting: £6.50 per square metre

Coffee maker/machine: £100

Coffee table: £250

Dining armchairs: £150 each

Dining chairs: £90 each

Dining table: £600

Dishwasher: £375

Drawer chest (5): £500

Dressing table: £500

Food mixer: £200

Free-standing mirror: £300

Fridge/freezer: £550

Gas cooker: £650

Hi-fi/stereo: £750

Installation of new bathroom: £6,335

Installation of new kitchen: £10,000

Lamp table: £200

Nest of tables: £200

Recordable DVD player: £270

Rugs: £300

Shredder: £50

Sideboard: £795

Suite of furniture: £2,000

Television set: £750

Tumble dryer: £250

Underlay (basic): £6.99 per square metre

Wardrobe: £700

Washer-dryer: £500

Washing machine: £350

Wooden flooring/carpets: £35 per square metre

Workstation: £150’

What’s wrong with Ikea, or any other store which doesn’t charge £500 for a bookcase. If they have a second home, which we have carpeted at £35 per square metre, not including fitting, do they have to pay capital gains on a second home, and repay the monies spent on the new kitchen and bathroom which will have added to the value of their home?

Makes me feel really happy about the budget.

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It was with pleaseure I heard that from now on Ministers will have to provide receipts for any expenses they claim which are over £25. Hang on there, no it was wasn’t with pleasure, actually it was with disgust. I’m not good with finances and understanding how public monies are spent but I assume, please correct me if I’m wrong, that the ‘pot’ the M.P’s salaries and expenses come from is at it’s source filled from the public purse, the same place my salary comes from. I have few expenses, mileage is one, incidentally still paid at the same rate I have been receiving for 10 years, and the top-ups for my work mobile the other. To  claim my mileage I have to complete a monthly, detailed mileage form, easy to check the veracity as I also have to complete monthly stats of visits and a daily sheet of work commitments. For my phone-top up, usually £5 per month, I have to submit the receipt and complete a monthly sheet itemising all my phone-calls. I know how important all these representatives are but does that make them somehow less accountable for their expenses, particularly since we have heard several reports recently about how devious they can be when it comes to financial affairs? Just one false £25 claim per week is £100 per month per M.P, and even if only half the P.M’s were doing this, that would around 300, there would be £30.000 worth of false claims per month. Over a year that would be £360,000, I think that’s a lot of money, if I’ve got my sums right.

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