50 signatures reached
To: Deputy Prime Minister
MP Expenses Zero Tolerance Policy
Dear Deputy Prime Minister,
Between 2012 to 2013 MP expenses rose to £98m. Of great concern is the fact that the public are still reading reports of MPs abusing the current expenses system, even after the Legg report and improved scrutiny measures were introduced at an annual cost of £6m. We believe many members of the public feel that MPs should behave more conscientiously over their right to claim expenses, especially at a time when a majority of the public is suffering austerity.
For that reason we have created the outline of a policy to act as a deterrent against abuse of the expenses system.
Why is this important?
The reason this is important to the public and, equally important to ministers, relates direct to trust issues and the current poor image that many MPs have created by abusing the expenses system.
If government wants the public to feel that they can be trusted, they need to demonstrate a willingness to be treated as any ordinary citizen when it comes to submitting an expenses claim form. For many, reading for example that an MP claimed the energy use for a horse stables simply triggers resentment, especially when so many families are finding it hard to meet the cost of keeping their lights and heating on at home.
We believe that all MPs have a duty to ensure that their expense claims are correct and follow the identical procedures of all other employees within government. We also consider that a very strong argument exists for the remuneration of MPs to include expenses and thereby, remove the potential for abuse altogether.
However, until an appropriate remuneration is provided and, as a mechanism to deter abuse, we also feel that in the interim a zero tolerance policy should be adopted against MPs who are identified as submitting false claims. Doing so will offer the public some assurance that their money is not being wasted and remove some of the tensions created by the scandal that began in the previous decade.
For your information we have a draft policy paper written which you might consider using as a stepping stone.