Prime Minister sets out new rules for MPs’ expenses

April 21, 2009 at 2:00 pm 1 comment

Second home allowances for MPs are to be abolished and replaced with a daily flat rate allowances based on their attendance in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister has announced.

In a statement posted on the Downing St website, Gordon Brown said that recent stories about MPs’ expenses had cast “a cloud over the whole of Parliament.”

The PM said he will discuss his “interim proposals” with the other party leaders and he hopes to reach consensus.

“We will ask the House of Commons to approve them. With these changes I hope that the work of MPs can become recognised again for what it should be – a service to the public,” he said.

The proposed changes include:

– the additional costs allowance – or second homes allowance – should be abolished and replaced by a flat rate daily allowance. This will reflect the fact that MPs do incur extra costs from working in two different places but it should be based on attendance in the House of Commons.

– those ministers who live in official residences would not be entitled to this allowance. Nor would MPs within travelling distance of Westminster – they would receive a London supplement similar to London weighting of salaries.

– the Committee on Standards in Public Life is examining the rules governing employment of spouses or other relatives. But in the interim, staff appointed by MPs should, without exception, become direct employees of the House of Commons, which will now be centrally responsible for their employment terms and conditions, contracts, and the payment of their salaries within the statutory limit allowed – and will have the right to make an audit and independent assessment of such contracts.

–  Where members of parliament have a second source of income from second jobs, every payment should be declared with a full description of what it is for and who paid it. There shall also be a full declaration of the hours worked for the payment received.

MPs will be asked to vote on the Prime Minister’s proposals as early as next week.

Mr Brown said:

“MPs need to have the humility to recognise that the country has lost confidence in the current system. To restore our faith in Parliament, and the good that it can do on the public’s behalf, we must commit to tightening up the system of allowances urgently.”

Click here to watch video of the PM talking about expenses.

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Entry filed under: Commons. Tags: , , .

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