Friday 22 October 2004

Is it time to string 'em up?

Bill Jamieson writes in today's Scotsman about the report into MPs' expenses. Here are the details (PDF file).

Mr Jamieson expresses these concerns:

The first is index-linked pensions. There is no reason, of course, why MPs should not enjoy some measure of employer contribution and full tax relief on payments into a defined contribution personal or group scheme. But index-linked pensions, unless fully funded by contributions, are hugely costly to the taxpayer and work to blind MPs to the depth of the problems now faced by millions of voters over pension prospects.

The second is the claims and allowances of around £100,000 each paid to the four Sinn Fein MPs, including Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, who have yet to make an appearance in the Commons and who make no secret of their contempt for the House other than, it seems, the expenses system. This is truly scandalous.

The third relates to accommodation claims. MPs can claim up to £20,902 a year for accommodation in London. Clearly, a Scottish, Welsh or English country MP who has a family house in the constituency needs a base in the capital. But with the boom in London property values in recent years, the present system has been open to abuse.

I thoroughly agree with each of these points. Readers may have noticed my particular obsession with the unfairness of state employees enjoying lavish pension arrangements that are almost unobtainable by those who must finance them. Yet again, I ask what the Tories are going to do should they be re-elected. Even here in Scotland the majority do not work for the state. Why doesn't Michael Howard announce that will end this exploitation of his natural supporters on his first day in office by taking away the pension privileges of government workers?

The situation is even more outrageous than I had thought (2nd letter).

Scottish Borders Council is in the process of giving early retirement to many of its senior officers. They are not redundant; most if not all will be replaced.

Each one is to be credited with the years of service they have yet to serve. This is costing council-tax payers millions of pounds.

The council claims it is common practice in public service.

This state of affairs won't continue forever. There will either be a total financial collapse or some sort of revolution.

1 comment:

David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Andrew Duffin
"The council claims it is common practice in public service." 
It is, it absolutely is, a common practice in public "service". 
And what's more, for a few months before they get to goof off permanently, they're allowed to "work" part-time, and the rest of the poor suckers have to cover for them. 
Scam isn't the word. 
otoh there are similar structural outrages in other countries, ours are not the worst injustices or the most pampered "workers". Go and ask someone who has experience of working in Italy, if you want an example.

22 October 2004, 12:27:47 GMT+01:00
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There is a clear solution to Scots MPs expenses. Bring em home. 
Dissolve the Union, then they won't need second homes nor travel to London. Far more of them could simply commute to Edinburgh.

22 October 2004, 11:57:02 GMT+01:00