Sir Ian Kennedy (photo), the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority's chairman, certainly took some criticism from MPs last year once he introduced the new expenses reform.
David Cameron has already given IPSA until April to shape up or else. MPs are furious because they say IPSA leaves them unable to see their children at weekends and forces many to sleep in their offices. Poor souls. What MPs are so enraged about is that the taxpayer doesn't think they should pay for them to visit their children. What job in this country pays employees' visits to family other than the military who receive 2nd class travel to their home when they return from operational service? None, of very few, of the military have second homes within spitting distance of their base and certainly no home is paid for by the taxpayer.
But the PM wants change. A list of the new proposals is here.
Yesterday IPSA published a press release asking members of the public for their views:
|05 January 2011|
IPSA launches review of the Scheme
Today IPSA is issuing an open invitation asking for views on the rules governing MPs’ expenses.
Following the general election in May last year, IPSA, the new independent regulator created in the wake of the expenses scandal, introduced a fresh approach with greater scrutiny.
For centuries, MPs and the House of Commons decided the rules for themselves. IPSA brought an end to self-regulation and intends to continue giving the public a say about what the rules should be. For the next six weeks, we are asking people to come forward and offer their views about the rules for MPs’ claiming expenses.
Following preliminary discussions with the political parties and MPs, we have found that issues of concern to MPs include the impact of the rules on their family life, the definition of the ‘London Area’ and the budget for renting a constituency office.
To inform this consultation, we also conducted a poll of the public. The results show that 30 per cent of respondents trust MPs to claim only for legitimate expenses. A further 35 per cent said they had some trust, but not very much.
This suggests that some progress is being made but there is still a long way to go.
On specific issues, like family accommodation and office costs, the survey shows that a majority of the public is reluctant to see more generous funding at this stage. Likewise there are still strong views on the use of taxis and first class travel.
We will consider these findings and other feedback in the consultation but also invite all interested people – MPs, their staff and the public – to comment on any other aspect of the rules.
Speaking on the launch of the consultation, IPSA’s chairman, Sir Ian Kennedy, said:
“IPSA was created by Parliament to bring an end to the old, discredited expenses system and has introduced an integrity and probity to MPs’ expenses. Our new approach is working, but I know it is not perfect. We have learned many lessons in the eight months that we have been regulating MPs’ expenses and have taken them on board and acted where appropriate. But, of course, some still have concerns. We want to hear these concerns and the evidence which lies behind them. We want to hear not only from MPs but from taxpayers around the country. After all, it is the taxpayer who pays the expenses.“Our commitment to giving the public a say on the rules is an historic shift from the practices of the past. I’m proud that IPSA is making its contribution to the process of restoring confidence in our democratic institutions.”
IPSA will review the rules annually, to make sure they are appropriate and keep pace with the challenges facing MPs and Parliament.
The public wanted change and Sir Ian provided it. Politicians don't like it. We have the opportunity to give our opinions. You can complete the online survey (it's anonymous and takes a couple of minutes) or email the address in the link.
MPs have to understand they are no different to any other working person who is entitled to claim expenses. Raewald says David 'Cameron is probably doing everything he can to engineer legislative changes before the public can be consulted - he may even block Sir Ian's consultation.' I too urge you to support Sir Ian in ensuring that we are given our say.