Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gordon Brown Stars In "You Only Get Paid Twice"

I have just had a mass deputation of the staff at Total Politics asking for an attendance allowance. In addition to their salaries, they would quite like an attendance allowance just for turning up to work. Just joking, but this seems to be the logic the Prime Minister is deploying in order to provide compensation for abolishing the second home allowance. Will the electorate really wear that?It appears completely abitrary. In theory an MP who lives with a relation rent free at the moment could in the future trouser £15k per annum. Nice work if you can get it.

This whole package looks like a dog's breakfast. Sir Christopher Kelly was right to say that quick fixes rarely work.

39 comments:

JuliaM said...

"Will the electorate really wear that?"

Do we have a choice?

Dick the Prick said...

This who package looks like a dog's breakfast - Sub ed - whole.

Plato said...

Chris Kelly?

Didn't he host the children's TV programme 'Clapperboard'? :)

They'll take anyone these days...

Mr Clegg referred to this as the EU Gravy Train option - rather good I thought for the Invisible Man.

brad1967 said...

come on mr dale.nothing yet on your mate mr maude????????

Mike Law said...

If I'm right in understanding that Brown is looking to give MPs an extra £15,000 just for turning up to work, that equates to just under £105 a day (if one works from the number of days Parliament is to sit this session).

Wouldn't it be great if we could all get the same amount of money for just turning up to work!!!

These people really do take the biscuit.

They have absolutely no understanding of what it is like to live in the real world.

One of my local MPs, Lyn Brown, has wasted £83 a week by my calculations; 2007 to 2008 she claimed £96 per working day for rental of a flat in central London (she lives in her constituency, West Ham, which is on the Jubilee Line). A black cab would cost her £70 a day for a return journey so she's wasting £83 a week for the full year.

The funny thing is, she could claim the cab fares back under the green book rules.

Bloody outrageous!

John Moss said...

An MPs main job is in Westminster representing their constituents, holding the Government to account or serving in Government.

A salary comensurate with a London job, plus expenses for regular travel to and staying in a second location are the logical elements to solve this, not a clocking on allowance - will it be paid if they clock on at 8.00am then leave, as they do in Brussells?

Pensions is stil the biggest scandal. The final salary scheme should be closed at the end of this parliament, with all MPs transferring to or joining a money purchase scheme from the start of the next.

Then they will have the moral authority to do this to the whole of the rest of the public sector as well.

Forlornehope said...

If they need accommodation in London, contract with the Salvation Army for some space in one of their hostels. It's better than most MPs deserve.

Lola said...

This is getting absurd. Brown has totally lost the plot - IMHO he never had the plot, although others disagreed - and now he is starting (starting! starting?) to exhibit all the symptoms of some form of mania for endlessly titting about with details that are not his concern, but he thinks might give him political advantage, and his other most favourite thing borrowing and spending money.

pete-s said...

Blears leaks the contents by the allowing the photographers to see as she leaves No 10 ploy. Now where have I heard of that one before? I expect the detail to be another quick fix Brown style balls up!

The turning worm said...

Gordon knows the meaning of the word 'consultation', especially if Clegg and Cameron are involved. Yet another Gordo imperium?

Hope a newly unsubjugated Labour Party votes NO, just to show that the fear of the wrath of Damien has gone.

Oliver Drew said...

£15k per annum? You're kidding - that is more than I earn in a year!!!

Will the electorate wear that - bloody hope not...I certainly won't.

The Yorkshire Terrorist said...

What's wrong with it? It'll stop the Irish and Scots MPs from taking the piss, claiming when they never even come to Westminster. It will mean less allowances paid out to every other MP, most notably those with the GL area. And they've only recently had to start submitting receipts for the ACA, or whatever it's called now. Some just faxed a letterhead with the amount on each month. And besides, they're interim measures anyway, before proper ones are discussed over the summer.

I don't understand your criticism, Iain? What are your team's suggestions? In all fairness, it'll be your lot most likely to complain about it.

Bearded Socialist said...

Mr Dale is starting to really get to me. I know he's a Tory and the best they can do is make jokes to cover up the lack of substance, but this is low even by their standards.

I think it's good that pay should be geared to attendance, sorry if that means Hague, Letwin and the rest might have to take a pay cut from one of their numerous other interests. Incorrect use of the word sorry, i'd be rather happy actually.

Have you any other suggestions for the reform of Parliamentary expenses? Or should the market be left to decide, hopefully doing as good a job as it has with the financial markets.

I mean the Tories wanted more open markets, then criticised the government for having open/free markets, in case no one got that

Mark M said...

Ahh, get paid for turning up. Why don't other businesses think of that one?

Check out the many faces of Gordon Brown on my blog
http://markmooreblog.blogspot.com/

Conservative Cabbie said...

Maybe I'm slow, but isn't a salary an "attendance allowance"?

If an MP has to relocate from the Outer Hebrides or Oswaldthistle and take a London home then I can understand that. Let that MP claim only what he is out of pocket for. Similarly, if an MP lives locally to London, they would have no reason to claim.

I realise that that seems simplistic but then I'm a simple member of the public, not part of the political classes and am therefore unable to understand the nuances of fleecing the taxpayer.

Kay Tie said...

What's wrong with a per diem allowance? It's common in the US and only rare here because the bloody Revenue don't normally like people living their lives without the joy of trying to convince the finance department that telephone kiosks don't issue receipts.

Eddie said...

True, somebody living in their sisters back bedroom could claim the same "attendance allowance" as somebody who is genuinely paying rent on a second home.

I hope the Tories make this point very loudly.

If the Houses will be responsible for employment contracts, why not make them responsible for rental contracts too?

No renting from friends and family.

There should be no attendance allowance at all - just reimbursement for essential costs of rent (capped at a realistic sum based on circumstances) and travel, all claims should be against receipts.

trevorsden said...

Kelly is STILL saying that on TV just now.

This system is the one abused by HoL and EU. Con Home say NI members exempt, a Brown decision which is so shallow and transparent as to defy belief !

Will the attendance allowance only be used for hotels or used against buying a local flat? Will central London MPs get it - in which case they will be better of !!

Will MPs get a sick note to help them pay for prebooked accommodation? Or their bought flat?

I can think of a dozen loads of bollocks in this cack handed announcement.

Who is going to decide - this is not a govt matter it is a HoC matter.

jafo said...

Most workers get an attendance allowance for turning up at work - it's called their salary and they are heavily taxed on it.

How much tax will MPs pay on this extra perk?

Does this mean Gordon will have to stop claiming for his Sky TV package............

Cynic said...

Brilliant tactical opportunity.

Cameron should oppose this as it gives some MPs more just for turning up and is clearly a stunt to distract from all the bad publicity of the last few weeks. If Brown whips it through then Labour MPs will find themselves forced to vote for something the public will despise.

If he loses the vote then follow up with an immediate 'no confidence' vote to impale him. He will win that but come out even more damaged.

Anonymous said...

JuliaM

We can do something about it but it needs concerted pressure. We must be strong about this - frankly I want blood before there are any changes - they are crooks and we need a few prosecutions - if we do not get this then they have to give it all up - if they do not like it they only have 12 months and they can &**& off or go now if they like.

mort said...

*The House of Commons authorities will, in future, employ MPs researchers, secretaries and other staff. Although MPs will still be free to appoint who they wish – including family members – the House of Commons will ensure that their contracts and pay are commensurate with their duties*

I would add that they should have the skills and experience to fulfil those roles!

William Blake's Ghost said...

Iain Dale:

I'm intrigued on where you get the figure of £15k from?

How many days attendance is that based on and what rate are you working on?

If you look at this year's Parliamentary calendar it suggest Parliament is open for 201 days. Consequently your figures suggest a rate of £75 per day. Would the MP daily rate be that low (that rate can be little more than that for a junior civil servant)?

One figure that has previously been mentioned is £170 per day (which does not seem overly excessive). Now if you say an MP attends for 140 days (out of the 201) they can then clear more than they do now on ACA.

I've got a feeling this is nothing more than Gordo's usual smoke and mirrors - it looks like a con.

Jimmy said...

This is the inevitable outworking of the debasement of politics. Once you accept that politicians are all venal and dishonest creatures (and that does now appear to be the narrative), then there are only two solutions: a receipt-based system involving a demeaning and very public second guessing of their expenditure patterns, or alternatively you give them a flat sum, let them get on with it and give them the benefit of any savings they make.

Oldrightie said...

Most people have to pay their food, clothing and travel to work costs out of income. Why do these people not do the same?

Michael Davies said...

Actually, it's not a bad idea... well it's better than the alternative, which is to pay for not turning up.

Iain, if you want grown up discussion about restoring confidence in politics - this isn't a helpful contribution.

Unsworth said...

Christopher Kelly is probably spitting chips - but far too diplomatic to say so. What an utter shambles of administration. No wonder Brown has so many enemies - appoint someone to do a job and then simply and virtually immediately undermine them? What was that about broken cricket bats?

Iain Dale said...

Michael, restoring confidence in politics? Don't make me laugh. If he was interested in that he'd have called in Cameron and Clegg before making his announcement. This is all about deflecting attention from tomorrow's budget.And if you can't see that...

Mike Law said...

I watched the ITV news and they came up with a figure of £170 a day, which works out to an extra £25,500 per year.

As they only work for between 140 to 200 days a year this seems a bit much. I would say that the parliamentary authorities should procure a number of premises near Westminster for those MPs that do have a distance to travel from their constituencies (should they live in the constituency).

For those that live in London yet represent constituencies a distance from London, the Local Authority should purchase a property to house the local MP when s/he is in town.

They get their travel paid for anyway, so the above should eventually make a saving.

AnthonyV said...

Just all sounds like a quick fudge to me. And you can bet your bottom dollar there will be get out clauses as a result which will take yet more time to sort out. If they ever do get sorted.

Old Holborn said...

Iain,

Your site is still causing IE7 to crash.

Old Holborn said...

Their expenses will also be published shortly

It's going to be a bloodbath

trevorsden said...

A Scottish labour MP has just trashed Brown on BBC 24-hr News.

Both Cameron and Clegg expressed misgivings about the per day allowance.

The BBC showed the clip of PMQs where Brown ruled out anything before the Parliamentary Commissioner enquiry.

Mr Davies must think we are all as thick as Brown continually thinks we are. After saying announcements would be made to parliament in future Brown announces this on You Tube! You Tube !!!
After saying it is important and needed to restore confidence (and this after first refusing to discuss it and even turn up to vote) he now expects MPs to vote for a pig in a poke - in the middle of a budget debate!!!

Two Words --- Jesus wept'

trevorsden said...

The IMF are reporting a huge exposure to bank losses for the British taxpayer.
No wonder Brown wants to talk about something else.

A £200billion bill say the Telegraph - (such is the scale of disaster we face now I mistakenly first typed 'million', but millions are meaningless these days.

On top of which (if I read it right) - "UK banks would also face a $200 billion (£137 billion) hit over the next two years as bad debts soared, the IMF said. "

So thats 200 billion and possibly another 137 billion !!!! !!

Er.... Christ.

Please note this is all before 180 billion deficit on the current account !!!!

er ... CHRIST!!

Whew - thank goodness the Great Leader is doing something about MPs expenses. Eh?

Just to show to the doubters that Osborne is still on the job (as well as a master of understatement) he is quoted -
" the IMF estimates showed the "potentially massive cost of Gordon Brown's utter failure to regulate the banking system".
"Gordon Brown told us last autumn we would be making money out the bailouts. This couldn't be worse news on the eve of the Budget.
"It blows apart the myth that Britain was better prepared for the recession than other countries,"

And re the budget this is what the IMF say and how you we should all judge it ...
"In order to address investor concerns, governments need to clearly communicate the potential costs of financial support packages as part of a sustainable medium-term budget framework, including a credible commitment to fiscal correction once economic conditions improve,"

Lola said...

For Christ's sake, look at it this way. MP's are given a special place. We, the people confer on them the all sorts of privilidges because they need them to represent us properly. The quid pro quo is that we also expect them to be 'honourable' people. We trust them to behave with common sense and prudence and not to enrich themselves at our expense whilst discharing their duties. In this way we would be confident that they will reward themselves with appropriate remuneration and only spend and claim necessary expenses.

This theory is all very well whilst MP's are 'honourable'. The problem is that many of the current crop, and especially within New Labour, are the most self serving bunch of low rent makeweights that I have ver seeen. They do not have a principle amongst them.

This whole row would go away if MP's would simply act honourably and prudently.

Michael Davies said...

Iain @ 8.05

Forgive me if I gave the impression that I think Brown and co may have noble motives regarding the regaining of trust and integrity in politics. I certainly don't think that and it is clear they are utterly bankrupt in every respect.

But there is a problem with MP compensation and allowances and I thought you were the blogger most likely to draw back from "they're all cr+p and should be paid minimum wage - see how they like it" rhetoric.

So...

Is there no problem?

Do MPs need to be paid more as salaries and less through rigging the allowances system?

If they are to be paid more, how do you deal with the lamentably poor showing in the Commons most of the time?

If you have an idea for a 'flanking measure' that would improve MP engagement in Parliament in return for more pay, then let's hear it. And please don't appeal to the ballot box... as you know that works for a small number of MPs and small number of voters in marginal seats.

Personally, I quite like the expression of contempt that making them clock in and out would create.

Come on Dale - you can do better than this... What's your solution?

MD

Bearded Socialist said...

Michael Davies,
you beauty. Perfect

Mike Law said...

@ Michael Davies

Is it really too much to ask that MPs (those people you and I elect to represent us at the legislative heart of this country) just turn up without being bribed?

If, as most MPs like us to think, being an MP is a profession, then why can we not just sack them for not doing the job? - And I don't mean by way of the ballot box.

Of course, that wouldn't be practicable; therefore we can only hope that they suddenly start acting with some sense of probity.

I'll give one good example (of many I could offer) as to why I'm extremely cynical about MPs.

I know all three of my local MPs (all Labour) i.e. those that represent the London borough I live in (in 2001, I was the election agent for one of them).

Recently, I put a question to all three asking for their opinions with regard to a mooted item of legislation that was highlighted in the Independent.

Two of them failed to respond (this includes the one I acted as agent for).

The other stated that he would only respond if I gave him my address (I moved about two years ago).

I can only assume this attitude reflects their contempt for me because I crossed the floor when I was a local councillor from Labour to the Conservatives.

That same MP responded to another query I put to him some time ago by telling me that I should get in touch with a Tory representative on the GLA if I wanted an answer. Clearly, he thinks that he only has a duty to represent Labour voters in his constituency - he is a government minister.

So my personal impression of MPs is that they have yet to prove to me that they are value for money (have I been polite enough Iain?); so why pay them any more?

Reds Under The Bed said...

The only benefit that I can see is that we will no longer have to fork out thousands of pounds a year for Jerry Adams' and Martin McGuiness' non attendance at Westminster