Posted by: John | May 26, 2009

Are expenses a clue to the `British storm`?

I blogged about Leyton MPs Harry Cohen and his mind-boggling reasons for gaining a load of money from the taxpayer. We also know about other MPs that give you a headache with their reasonings.

Yes, I can just about read between the lines about Cohen to get to the truth and newspaper online articles help (as other bloggers have noted). How about his constituents? They don’t have time or don’t understand what he must mean and default to the simple thus `he’s in it for himself`. That’s why any reforms of expenses should be as simple as possible.

My main point is this – most ordinary people have neither the means, the time or inclination to look at all these loopholes and systems and just see the old Dickensian maxim of `my income is x and if I spend y I’m overdrawn or have money in hand`. Then the peddlers of complication in the form of the finance houses proffered all sorts of schemes that people were sucked into.

It seems that MPs led a rarified existence using the Fees Office as free accountants and cooking up all sorts of dodges that most ordinary people wouldn’t think of. Is that part of the reason of NOT tackling bank regulation? After all, if you feel guilty yourself you turn a blind eye. If you think in the I described you can no longer tackle those in the City that are against deregulation and those that want to profit by creating ever more complicated systems that serve the City and their hangers-on. In fact, thinking like that became the norm!

No wonder the Conservatives were complicit in ensuring that the inflation indices didn’t include house prices! Individual MPs were profiting very nicely from it, thank you. As for Labour there was a double-whammy – some of their MPs profited from it by `flipping` and while the housing bubble increased they were profiting at the ballot box.

Surely, it’s time for the rules to change so that MPs can only rent properties up to a certain limit, as Nick said.

Simplicity should be our watchword and is the key.

My feeling is that there’ll be a drift towards simplicity. People will be suspicious of any salesman/woman peddling complicated systems.

This is a great opportunity to put forward our agenda on tax cuts for low and middle earners.


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