The Gravy train has pulled out of Westminster for the Easter Holidays.
The Bisto kids won’t be back at ‘work’ until Monday 20th April 2009.
It will be difficult for you to tell the difference; at least 60 of the 220 members on the most influential Commons committees missed more than half their meetings last year, according to an analysis of figures released this week by Parliament.
Anyone who has ever tuned into the BBC Parliament channel will have realised that with the notable exception of Prime Minister’s Question Time on a Wednesday morning, when there is a fair chance they might get their snouts on national television, they scarcely bother to enter the chamber.
Their normal hours of work are:
- Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays
2.30 pm to 10.30 pm
11.30 am to 7.30 pm
9.30 am to3pm
On average they take home £60,675 - their pay is increased each year by a formula linked to senior civil servants’ pay and is reviewed every five years. They have a final salary pension scheme, with contributions set at 10% of their salary and a current “accrual rate” - the proportion of salary received for each year of service - of 1/40th.
There is no limit on the amount of travel expenses MPs can claim. They can claim business class air fares and first class rail travel for Parliamentary business within the UK and up to three visits a year to European institutions, as well as up to 15 return journeys a year for spouses or children. MPs can also claim for staff travel - up to 12 return journeys a year between Westminster and their constituency. Overall MPs claimed £4.5m in travel expenses last year.
They can also claim the cost of a second home - the ACA is worth up to £23,083 a year. MPs can claim up to £250 on any “allowable” item - such as workmen’s bills - without showing a receipt, as well as up to £400 a month on food - again without a receipt. Other costs, which can be claimed back but require receipts, include mortgage interest payments, rent, hotel expenses and refurbishment.
They can claim up to £21,339 as accommodation costs, office equipment and supplies.
They can claim the cost of employing staff (such as their spouse or Nanny if she is answering the phone) up to £90,505.
Three computers, printers and scanners worth about £3,000 are provided for each MP.
In addition there is a communication allowance of up to £10,000 a year “to assist in the work of communicating with the public on parliamentary business”. It can be spent on things like regular reports, constituency newsletters, websites and contact cards.
They are allowed to claim up to £10,000 for a new kitchen, more than £6,000 for a bathroom and £750 for a television. They can also claim reimbursement from the taxpayer for stereos worth up to £750, £300 air-conditioning units and £2,000 for a furniture suite for their second homes.
Last year they clocked up an eye watering £93m in expenses.
That works out at an average (including salary) of £204,637.
One of them works for you.
Write to him.
Make an appointment at his constituency clinic.
Make him work for his money. You pay him.
Even if you are unemployed. You pay him. Your benefit would be higher if you didn’t have to support that idle idiot.
Make a nuisance of yourself.Get your money’s worth!