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Expenses: Kelly rules OK

November 5, 2009 10:45 AM

Lib Dem parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle East Greg Stone has welcomed the Kelly report's recommendations into MP expenses and allowances.

The report calls for:

  • all claimable expenses to be supported by receipts
  • an end to the practice of claiming mortgage interest payments and "flipping" second home designations
  • reducing the over-generous "subsistence allowance"
  • ending claiming for gardening, cleaning, furnishing, and electrical items
  • accommodation allowances equivalent to the cost of a 1 bedroom flat within reasonable distance of Westminster
  • an end to the practice of employing family members

Greg Stone said "I have already pledged that I will not employ family members, claim for food, claim for furniture, or claim for mortgage payments, so I warmly welcome these reforms.

However, it is striking that with the exception of employing family members, Newcastle East's Labour MP falls foul of most of Kelly's new restrictions, having made massive unreceipted claims over many years, claiming mortgage interest payments on his Newcastle home, claiming the maximum £400 a month for subsistence without receipts, and claiming for cleaning and other unspecified services without receipts.

Clearly the system can no longer continue if MPs are to continue to retain the respect of the public, and at a time when the public finances and the economy are under strain and many people are struggling, it is right that MPs should see their extravagant expense accounts curtailed.

It will look extremely shabby if MPs now try to amend or water down these proposals, and I hope they will not do so. However, the record of many MPs, including Newcastle East's Labour MP, is one of voting against greater transparency on this issue."