Should The Fees Office be investigated?

  wee eddie 13:45 15 Oct 2009

It appears that The Fees Office is the root cause of this MPs Expenses problem.

The Fees Office has been Rubber Stamping all sorts of Claims by MPs, which are now recognised as being Dis-honourable.

Have they been lushed up in any way?

How are they appointed? I know, but you need to.

What are their Terms of Reference?

Are they required to be Honourable?

  oresome 14:20 15 Oct 2009

I think there was a general belief by all MPs that their salary was below the rate they deserved and of comparable jobs, but it could be boosted via the back door of few questions asked expense claims.

This seems at the time to have been a more politically acceptable solution than increasing the basic remuneration of MPs.

With hindsight, perhaps not the best solution!

  ened 15:22 15 Oct 2009

I think you have possibly hit the nail on the head.

But they didn't all do it.

  jakimo 11:48 17 Oct 2009

The fees office without question should be investigated,... headed by a judge,and not a retired or current member of the Lords,the politicians favoured choice when they are being investigated.

  Forum Editor 12:51 17 Oct 2009

the kind of people who put themselves up for adoption as parliamentary candidates in future years.

British politicians have already reached an all-time low as far as charisma and imagination are concerned, and I imagine that the current 'pack of baying hounds' syndrome being exhibited by the media and public alike will have a profound effect on the quality of future governments.

Hard though I try, I can't come up with a single politician in the present or future governments who has an ounce of appeal in the charisma department - they all merge into one grey, amorphous mass of mediocrity.

We'll gnaw away on this expenses/salary bone until there's no meat left, and then we'll whine and moan about how we don't have any quality MPs any more. We'll totally overlook the fact that we will have created the situation because of our obsession with kicking all of these people when a few of them are down. We're too stupid to realise that now is the one time when we need to attract the very best thinkers and doers into politics. We'll not be happy until we've screwed down every screw, and locked every lock.

One day we'll wake up and realise that all along we harried a few people to destruction for a few thousand pounds, when we should have been focusing on stemming the flow of the billions being wiped off the value of our homes and businesses by the economic recession. Those are the problems that should have our undivided attention, rather than a few MPs fiddling their expenses.

  GANDALF <|:-)> 13:00 17 Oct 2009

I'm only guessing here but I feel that it would help if the official in charge of the Fees Office had a qualification more applicable to the world of finance than a degree in Ancient Near Eastern Studies and it would help if he/she had some sort of business acumen so that they would not have to be sent to Business Studies classes, at a cost to the taxpayer of £15k, whilst already in the job.


  jack 14:15 17 Oct 2009

but supported themselves- this of course meant the monied classes only
However a modification of this could brig some people up with a jerk
Let MP's be sponsored by and paid by their local constituancies or spercialsts[Unios/trade associations etc.,]
Make them earn their keep.
Payment by results.

Some years ago I seem to recall a certain lady civil servant was appointed to oversee the house in certain areas- it may even have been expenses-
She went to it with vigor - she lasted a very short time- driven out by the very MP's she was meant to keep in line.

  wee eddie 14:22 17 Oct 2009

I do not feel that increasing the salary will attract a higher standard of MP.

But, I do believe that an MP's salary should be sufficient to live in Central London without financial worry and I think that it is currently insufficient.

I do believe that they should be allowed to claim for a home in their Constituency and another within Central London.

It is my opinion that, on Election, an MP should declare the address of their Primary and Secondary Residence and that, if they sell either of those within their period of Office and a short period following leaving that Office, without good reason, e.g. New Constituency, increased Family size, that they be required to repay any improvements made to that property.

I also think that, they may be required to study the meaning of the word "Honourable", and be required to behave with that knowledge in mind.

  ened 14:28 17 Oct 2009

I have always found the best staff usually are the ones who indulge in the fiddles, and one is aware of this and tolerates it so long as it remains small scale.

But in some of these cases there is nothing small-scale about it and I do feel justified in feeling aggrieved.

It may even turn out that you are wrong and in the event we end up with higher calibre politicians, certainly than this present government who couldn't run a Corner Shop, never mind a Country.

  johndrew 15:47 17 Oct 2009

Whilst I understand your comments, It may also be worth asking if we really want people with low moral standing to make our laws and run the country.

If those who put themselves forward for election do so, in part, to enable them to defraud the public, then what standard of administration will they enact?

A few years ago the news papers were full of similar problems with Italian politicians being involved in all sorts of unsavory/unsatisfactory practises. This caused the public to rebel and as a result Italy was quite unstable, politically, for a period with several changes in government in a very short period. Even now some of the effects are still being seen there. Do we really want to go down that route or should we enforce a reasonable set of rules for expenses and apply specific salaries in common with, for example, our Civil Service, Armed Forces and the majority of the commercial factions?

If we choose the latter option, MPs salaries will still be on par with many other areas, but they will no longer be able to abuse the expenses system. This may well encourage those with a want/need to serve their country to come forward rather than deter. Within this group I doubt if you would find a huge variation of ability to that currently within Parliament. Additionally the Civil Service, who provide much of the advice for Ministers anyway, will still be present to provide the support seen for decades.

I would also suggest that there is already a substantial element of MPs who are above average ability who do not abuse the system and frown (albeit not publicly) on those who do. It is this group we need to support, encourage and grow rather than simply looking for `good brains` that may be `corrupt` in their intent.

  Forum Editor 15:56 17 Oct 2009

I can't find much to disagree with in your last post, and I'm certainly not suggesting for one moment that we should condone an expense fiddling culture. There are however ways to deal with the problem that don't involve what to me seems a wild overreaction to something that - in the context of our present national predicament - probably shouldn't preoccupy the media and the public consciousness to such an extent.

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