Solving the World's problems with common sense and a flamethrower.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

MPs Allowances: A Load of Barracks

"Welcome to Westminster. Here's your bunk".

We're currently being treated to the marvelous sight of MPs wailing, wringing their teeth and gnashing their hands at the prospect of their troughing being limited somewhat. And, of course, it's all just an act.

Legg wants to ban spouses working for their MP husbands, or offspring being given juicy little researching jobs by Daddy or Mummy. Good soundbite - but we know it can't work because firstly it would be discriminatory, and secondly these experts in loophole-discovery will simply cross-employ to keep the cash in the family.

Kelly wants MPs no longer to have the right to claim mortgage interest, but instead to be made to rent their second homes. Good soundbite - but we know it won't work because of a little thing called 'Buy-To-Let'. MP #1 buys a property, lets it to MP #2, who claims the rental back. Meanwhile, MP #2 buys a property, and lets it to MP #1. Who claims the rental back. Two mortgages paid, two properties owned, two little piggies with snouts still in the trough and a placated populace. Simples.

The sad fact is, all this hair-shirt wearing, all these enquiries and announcements are simply the preparatory steps in organising yet another inflation-busting salary increase for our glorious leaders.

Well, I have a small suggestion - a solution to the vexed question of MP's accommodation.

MPs are (supposedly) public servants. And while I appreciate that a majority do need somewhere to stay in London, as public servants they should be required to adhere to the same rules as other public servants.


When servicemen are stationed in the UK, they reside in barracks. They don't have to do so - they can stay wheresoever they choose - but if they want to live somewhere outside the military fences, they do so out of their own pocket. I was based in barracks when I was in Scotland, and also in Northwood. It's the way the military works - and it makes sense for MPs.

We are currently spending an astronomical sum of money building the Olympic Village to house athletes, coaches and various hangers-on in 2012. That means that after the Games we will have a nicely-contained area with plenty of accommodation available for use. It will already have been built with the coin of the public purse, and given the international nature of the sporting event it was built for will have good communication links. It will have excellent public transport, and because it's a single location will be easier and cheaper to secure and patrol than numerous private residences.

A self-contained accommodation complex for MPs with good communications links, meeting areas, plenty of car parking, canteen facilities and everything else the genuine public servant needs, all within a short Tube journey of Westminster.

So - save the long-running inquiries into what should be claimed, what's allowable and how it can be massaged into the Member's wallet. You want to be an MP? You get a healthy salary, and when in London you can stay in barracks. If you don't want to, you don't have to - but you pay for your alternative accommodation out of your own pocket. You know, like a normal person.

Use the Olympic Village as the Parliamentary Crashpad. You know it makes sense*.

*Plus, if you stick 'em all in one place I'll know exactly where to put the tactical nuclear warhead.


Brennig said...

Brilliant suggestion. But let's extend it.

There are enough military establishments within the '1 hour of London' rule to offer MPs accommodation 'on site'. That way our MPs live in the same standard of accommodation that they expect the troops to live in. And, living in military accommodation would be more secure than living in civilian quarters, so that's a Win-Win!

And here's a thought. How about this simple rule: An MP's primary address - the one where he or she lives - must be in their constituency.

The Economic Voice said...

Yes great idea....trouble is knowing Labour they have earmarked it for MP's to rent out for family members...with an up to 5th cousins cap placed...just to make it fair of course.

reener said...

I've often thought about this Olympic business...and my main thought was "Where are you going to put everyone?!" I'm not even talking athletes and their baggage, I'm talking those that want to come and watch! The roads in the UK, ESPECIALLY around London are going to be a NIGHTMARE! Let alone the cost to the people! I'm so shocked that Brown even agreed to have them there. Hopefully, some good will come from it as far as businesses are concerned and will benefit from tourists and such attending the games.

Love the little tid bit at the bottom..heeheehee.....