ON September 10, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority released names of 26 MPs who had not repaid expenses money outstanding or replied after four requests for information.
It may seem at first glance that this was a perfect example of the continued ‘troughiteering’ of MPs but the total amount involved was revealed to be just £2,105.43 (€2,864) and already, some of the amounts including £13.50 (€18.50) said to be owed by junior minister for equality Caroline Dinenage had been identified as ‘no longer owed.’
This regulatory body was set up to restore public confidence following the MPs’ pay and expenses scandal in 2009, which led to the jailing of a number of politicians and it would be a definite waste of money if this was all that it did.
IPSA also looks at all matters pertaining to MPs’ costs except for their salaries and this includes money claimed for staffing, office costs, travel and accommodation.
More tellingly, it also announced that the overall bill for MPs’ expenses and costs rose to almost £106 million (€144.1 million) in 2014-15, an increase of £1.7 million (€2.3million) – just over 1 per cent – on the previous financial year. With 650 elected MPs, their average cost excluding salaries amounts to £163,000 (€220,000) for each MP.