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Offline the leveller

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« on: October 24, 2012, 11:19:44 AM »
To: Alliance Taxpayer's Alliance ; Allison (Taxpayer's Alliance) Andrew ; Burns Simon MP

Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 11:34 AM
Subject: CONSULTATION RESPONSE - What I think of MP's pay & pensions

I thought you would like to see my response to the IPSA initiative of reviewing MP's pay/pensions and expenses.

Dear IPSA,

My first duty is to congratulate IPSA for stemming the rot and the covert thieving perpetrated by the vast majority of MP's since the Daily Telegraph made known who were robbing the taxpayer right up to (and probably after) 2009.
I also want to congratulate the "Daily Telegraph" for naming names those years ago, thus rooting out the disgraceful antics of those with sticky fingers who dishonourably, and knowingly, claimed money when they instinctively knew they were doing wrong.


Sir Ian Kennedy says: "We want a considered, public debate where we hear as broad a range of views as possible supported by all the evidence which is available."   
Well, I shall certainly feed this debate with my views and some of the evidence, available from the public domain such as:

Linda Riordan is renting her London flat to fellow MP Iain McKenzie, right, while simultaneously claiming taxpayer funds to rent a second home for herself, it is claimed?..

Linda can't even add up two sums of money!  Tory MP with two London homes claims ?8,500 in hotel bills from the capital

Talk about let the taxpayer pay ethos of MP's: one MP even claimed for, "Milk for the use of constituents guests and staff"  79 pence.  Tight fisted or what?

I hear other proposals within the Ipsa consultation include cutting the value of MPs? final salary pensions by nearly a quarter - ?2 million a year.  What a splendid idea - most other large institutes threw out the Final Salary idea years ago. MP's are not Gods and their coushty lifestyle is no longer acceptable to ordinary plebs like myself - they need to knuckle under being just MP's.
"It [being an MP] provides relatively generous benefits and consequently requires high contributions from the taxpayer -
I am not prepared to line their pockets with any more of my taxes, they manage to do that themselves well enough.

My stance: I submit this document as a private individual and Christian taxpayer who has no direct connection with politics. I furnish my thoughts on the proven fact that the majority of MP's were fiddling their "expenses" and robbing the public purse before the Telegraph blew their game apart in 2009. Somehow, most of them (MP's) escaped jail by the skin of their teeth. Such despicable and dishonest behaviour will not be tolerated ever again.

I shall answer the 17 questions asked in the IPSA Review in due course.

Background and Evidence
What is an MP's duty?
    Sir Winston Churchill

The above should be par for the course of being an MP - sadly it's NOT the case by a long chalk.

Let me highlight the shameful nonsense that some MP's got away with - pretending the 'spend' was essential for their Parliamentary duties, whilst they all knew that, "Members themselves are responsible for ensuring that their use of allowances is above reproach."   JOKE time! 

"It is your responsibility to satisfy yourself when you submit a claim, or authorise payments from your staffing allowance, that any expenditure claimed from the allowances has been wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred for the purpose of performing your Parliamentary duties."

There were many MP's who took precipitous advantage of the trust placed in them: as pure example I name Mrs M. Beckett as an icon of that greed that overtook the many.

BECKETT:  ACA February - April 2006 a claim for ?7,515.25 (paid out) which was for joinery & repairs on her house, and included ?720 for "food". Two fax machines (Canon's) costing ?844. Two Sanyo dictating machines costing ?207.
On the 30th March 2006 a claim for ?4,753.00 (paid out) to change a bedroom into a study (heated concrete floor costing ?3,241). For the period May 2005 to June 2006 she claimed ?1800 in one 'go' for "food" - proving MP's DO NOT need ?400/month for "food". They starve for a year odd, then claim?  If they needed food, they would claim EVERY month and not let the months fly by without a claim for their daily bread. 
Lest we forget that Mrs Beckett claimed ?600 for pot-plants (3 / 8/ 05) which were of course wholly, exclusively and necessary incurred as being essential for her Parliamentary duties - ?600 paid out despite being plainly illegal.
Ordinary citizens pay out of their own pocket for food, why not MPs ?
Even today her "staffing costs" are horrendous: one would think she would let her elderly husband Leo retire, as he is well into his 80's and should rest from being her Office Manager.

Staffing costs





Her arrogance shone through even after the bubble burst! On Question Time she was taken to task for calling her plants claim "an error" - also for her abject refusal to repay ?72,000 of her controversial second home allowance.
She had no mortgage or rent outstanding so it was queried how she managed to claim ?72,537 between 2004 & 2008 on her house when she was already renting out her London flat and living in a grace & favour flat at the time.

I shall make short comment of what I think MP's should be doing on a daily basis and not running businesses or being multi-Directors on the side, nor filling slots on the nation's papers/TV and radio shows with their dubious escapades, and getting paid to fill in numerous Public opinion polls at every turn. I need only refer to Churchill's thoughts on the matter and ask MP's to do the same.

In my opinion MP's should serve the public 100% and NOT themselves.  I still think a huge majority of MP's are in the politics game to line their own pockets any which way, whilst biding their time for a very large pension (and a golden goodbye/good riddance payment) whilst getting the trappings of luxuries that some taxpayers have to work ALL their lives for, eg swanning off on some foreign jolly with a partner pretending it is for the benefit of the UK taxpayer. I believe most MP's bumble along being an MP and come out the other end smelling of roses and money.

Why should I contribute towards their T/V licence or their internet connection etc?  I find it very difficult to see why the taxpayer should pay for all these items:

4.9 Associated expenditure includes:
a. utility bills (gas, electricity, other fuel and water);
b. council tax;
c. ground rent and service charges;
d. home contents insurance;
e. in the case of MPs claiming under 4.8c or 4.8d, buildings insurance;
f. purchase, installation and maintenance of routine security measures;
g. installation of a landline telephone line, line rental and usage charges;
h. installation of a broadband connection and usage charges;
i. connection to a basic, free to air television broadcast package; and
j. the purchase of a television licence.

The present system that IPSA has almost mastered still allows these public servants (MP's) off with allowing vast quantities of public money to flow into their bank accounts with alacrity.   Now we read about loopholes that some MP's are using (renting homes from each other) for personal pecuniary gain. Some of them will just will not learn to be honourable and "above reproach".  They should be sacked - double crossing is not in the job description.

I hope they read that every day!

"sometimes conflicting" and that is without any reference to OUTSIDE jobs MP's get up to, which MUST conflict.

Whilst there is absolutely nothing to suggest an MP should not be employed in any other job/s outside Parliament
I would argue there is a disloyalty element and a very unhealthy side-effect if MP's devote large amounts of time and energy to their outside financial merry-go-rounds.
If the above is indicative, then what effect must manifest itself being a Doctor or a QC or other high-flyer on the hours worked per week, never mind adding in HoC time to the mix. Something has to give way and suffer!
No way!   They knew the score, and what they were letting themselves in for, to be an MP, and thus shed any previous job rewards related past employment.

Present system
The current annual salary for an MP is ?65,738.
Any person in receipt of a salary of ?65,738 is well placed to get on with life and should not need further highly fuelled enhancements pulling in (many cases) up and beyond ?100,000 with other jobs and directorships.  I can see little evidence of 'them' digging into their own ?65,738 size pockets. Some accept free First Class Travel (gifts) from rail companies, so even getting to work costs them nothing - claiming taxi fares also, as and when.

One man, one job.  How on earth can one man/woman be faithful and hardworking being an MP when he/she has 3 or 23 other "jobs".  Thinning out ones time and energy doing many tasks is like asking a juggler to keep 10 balls in the air - he can't do it consistently and fails. Public life as an MP is not an excuse for money-making diversions.

Evidence of this multiple job MP diversion crops up more often than not; see the Register of Interests.

There are many good apples!  I am picking out Simon Burns MP as one of them, he digs into his own pocket to fund his own website, apart from doing one job of being an MP. Plus the fact he attends Westminster to vote on more occasions than a lot of his fellow MP's. He's voted in 85.62% of votes in this Parliament with this affiliation ? well above average amongst MPs. (From Public Whip)
Welcome to my website.

Since I was elected as Member of Parliament for the Chelmsford area in 1987, I have fought to the best of my abilities, for the interests of all my constituents regardless of their political affiliations. This website is designed to enable you to learn more about what I am doing in Westminster, and in Chelmsford, on your behalf. You will find my contributions to a whole range of debates on important national and local issues. You can also find articles I have written, recent speeches I have made, and up-to-date news.
Whether you would like to contact me about a constituency problem or a political issue, or, if you are simply interested in finding out more about the work that I do, then I hope you will find this website useful.    This website is personally funded by Simon Burns MP, at no cost to the taxpayer

This is what I expect of ALL MP's when they take on the job of being a public servant, be an MP and only an MP.
From the A-Z listing

ABBOTT - >?5000 appearing on the BBC "This Week" programme. She writes for papers, talks, and more T/V work such as getting ?3000 from Channel 4 in Dec 2010 for appearing on "Come dine with me".
Another ?3000 in March 2010 for participating/speaking at "National Woman's Day" event.

ADAMS - getting ?500/hour as a Director of NGC Networks - declares 10 hours "work" and gets ?5000

ALI, Rushanara - taking >?11,000 off a charity for "research projects". Pity charity has to feel deep into the pocket.

BALDRY - Dep Chrm of Woburn Energy pockets >?36,000 for 11 months of "work" (41 hrs) and another ?142,000 "work" for other parties as declared, "practising Barrister, arbitrator and mediator".

BANKS - as a Director of a building company pockets ?42,000 under the claim Remunerated directorships
Cartmore Building Supply Co Ltd, Cartmore Industrial Estate, Lochgelly, Fife. Builders? merchant. Work includes: attending meetings; reviewing management accounts; reviewing company procedures; performance and processes; management of staff; and, management of stock control and IT development. [now add MP work !]

BARKER - a multi millionaire Director of Fair View Ltd. He's a Conservative but accepts a donation (TWO tickets) from Pelham Bell Pottinger (in the news: ) worth ?900 for attending his own parties "Summer Party" on 5 July 2012.
Nothing honourable about that behaviour.

BALDWIN - works 3 days/month (22.5hrs) in Directorships and pockets ?10,000

BECKETT - I am very pleased to see she has stopped pilfering the public purse to pay for her hanging baskets (?600 for plants 3/ 8 /2005) paying her gardener ?40/month and claiming ?1800 for "food" all in one go (05/05 to 01/06).
No more taking the rise out of taxpayers by getting ?7515.25 under ACA Feb 06 - Apr 06 of which ?4753 was for "joinery and repair" of her house.  That is not what we pay her for. Nor do we expect her to buy everything in pairs - two mobile phones, two faxes (Canon's ?844). Still employs hubby Leo as Officer Manager (not too many of them around in their 80's).

BINLEY - Chrm (non-exec) earns ?32,000 annually for 5hrs/month: plus ?12,000 for attending 2 board meetings a month.

BLUNKETT - pockets ?60,000 a year from the UC Group Ltd and he says "this involves some travel". Speaking to Lloyds banking Group earned him ?3400 on the 26 July 2010. In August 2010 he pulled in ?9000 for articles he had written for Associated Newspapers. In the next 9 months he wrote articles for the same group which earned him ?30,000; this man should be a writer, not an MP.
He pulled in other four figure sums for talks, the 14th April 2011 being a particularly LONG and busy day (14 hours) but he finished ?5100 better off!  Did he 'clock on' in Parliament the next day?
 14 April 2011, I received ?1,700 from the British Occupational Hygiene Society, 5/6 Melbourne business Court, Millennium Way, Pride Park, Derby DE24 8LZ, for speaking at their conference. Hours: 4 hrs. (Registered 28 April 2011)
 14 April 2011, I received ?3,400 from Global Business Events Ltd, Richmond House, 468 Chepstow Road, Newport, NP19 8JF, for speaking at their conference. Hours: 10 hrs.

The "talk" was allocated ONE HOUR. Where 4 hrs came from is anybodies guess. From Stratford-upon-Avon (where the BOHS held the event) onto the next venue and 'log' 10 hours.  A 14 hour day for Mr Blunkett MP.

BRIDGEN - pulled in ?108,822 for "working" 78 hours in the 13 months through his Directorship with AB Products

BROWN, Rt. Hon. Gordon - where do you start?  ?102,568.55 for travel and accommodation costs to NY.
For a speech ?62,181.32 from ThisDay in Lagos, and the flights were paid for too.
?37,047.01 (don't forget the penny Gordon) for another speech in New Delhi, flights paid for too (?13,544).
A bit more in Saudi Arabia for talking, ?49,052.69 (yes, the flights/accommodation were paid for too).
We have to salute the fact Gordon tells us, " I am not receiving any money from this engagement personally. It is being held by the Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown for the employment of staff to support my ongoing involvement in public life".   
The "Office of Gordon and Sarah Brown" is in the family name as a Ltd company which should explain a lot!
The man enlightens us with more facts of how much he earned in other various jaunts; I shall desist from adding the FIVE figure sums they attract.

COX , Geoffrey (Torridge and West Devon) - 2. Remunerated employment, office, profession etc Practice at the Bar of England and Wales.  That declaration of course tells us nothing of the time/effort/money this man makes doing work on the side.
This ref tells more:

It transpires Geoffrey earned around ?400,000 in 2011 outwith being an MP.

DRAX -  Only one Directorship is declared, yet he holds 5 Directorships all told according to a company search website.

Evans, Jonathan (Cardiff North)  He has 11 Directorships that are "active". That is 12 jobs (?) but his earnings outside Parliament amounted to >?133,000 in the year ending May 2011.

HUNT, Tristram - How busy can an MP be outwith that primary job? Tristram Julian William Hunt FRHistS (born 31 May 1974) is a British Labour Party politician, activist, historian, broadcaster and newspaper columnist, who is currently the Member of Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central. He also teaches and lectures on Modern British History at Queen Mary, University of London[1]in Mile End, East London. He has written several books and appeared as broadcaster for history programmes on television. Hunt is a regular writer for The Guardian and The Observer.[2]


In 9 months, lecturing in London alone brought just under ?11,000 and consumed 144 hours away from Parliamentary duties. A considerable amount of writing, T/V, & talking, brought in more money but sucked time away from being an MP.

LEE, Dr Phillip - declares he is a "freelance GP" and lists 52 occasions where he worked between 3.5 & 4 hrs/day being paid between ?390 & ?400/session. Then working as a GP in Berkshire the list (Page 162) shows 55 days where worked on the whole 3.5 hrs/day getting ?85/hr - so most days he gained just under ?300.
It takes a very special man to be a doctor and an effective MP.

MILLIBANDS - I won't even go there - each has pages and pages of money making schemes; ?75,000 for being connected with the local football club, nice money for doing little.

OPPERMAN , Guy (Hexham) - "Barrister in private practise" and 5 pages of this type of work, outwith his duties as an MP.  I did not add up the many, many thousands of pounds procured.

PHILLIPS , Stephen.  He is a QC in "Private Practise" such that last year, April 2011, he was featured in the Daily Mail as having earned ?800,000 outside his job as an MP.

An excerpt of his declarations:
Received ?3,200, exclusive of VAT, for legal services provided. Solicitors: direct instructions. Hours: 4 hrs carried out on 22 March 2010. (Registered 8 July 2010) Received ?4,000, exclusive of VAT, for legal services provided. Solicitors: Richards Butler in association with Reed Smith LLP, 20th  Floor, Alexandra House, 16-20 Chater Road, Hong Kong. Hours: 8 hrs carried out between 25 January 2010 and 28 January 2010. (Registered 8 July 2010)  Received ?2,250, exclusive of VAT, for legal services provided. Solicitors: Hill Dickinson LLP, Irongate House,22-30 Duke?s Place, London EC3A 7HX. Hours: 3 hrs carried out between 24 March 2009 and 27 March 2009. (Registered 8 July 2010)
Received ?1,200, exclusive of VAT, for legal services provided. Solicitors: Shearman & Sterling LLP, Broadgate West, 9 Appold Street, London EC2A 2AP. Hours: 3 hrs carried out on 23 February 2009. (Registered 8 July 2010)  Received ?4,750, exclusive of VAT, for legal services provided. Solicitors: Travers Smith Braithwaite LLP, 10 Snow Hill, London EC1A 2AL. Hours: Approximately 9 hours carried out between 8 December 2009 and 9 January 2010. (Registered 5 August 2010)  Received ?5,000, exclusive of VAT, for legal services provided. Solicitors: More Fisher Brown LLP, 45 Moorfields, London EC2Y 9AE. Hours: 10 hrs carried out on 25 April 2010. (Registered 5 August 2010) Received ?23,000, exclusive of VAT, for legal services provided. Solicitors: Thomas Cooper and Stibbard LLP. Hours: 46 hrs carried out between 26 February 2010 and 26 March 2010. (Registered 5 August 2010)

Received?265,125, exclusive of VAT, for legal and arbitration services provided. Solicitors: direct instructions. Hours: 530.25 hours carried out between 24 April 2009 and 4 November 2010. (Registered 17 February 2011) Received ?65,500, exclusive of VAT, for legal services provided. Solicitors: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, 65 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1HT. Hours: 131 hours carried out between 15 October 2010 and 12 January 2011. (Registered 20 April 2011)


No - but I echo Sir Winston Churchill's view on what an MP should be (see above).  No defrauding the taxpayer by HMG officials would be nice.

Yes. Consider the thought there may be an Islamic state in the UK within a few decades, given the influx and birth rates, and that 'their' laws (sharia) may overwhelm the state?

A Bill has been brought before the House of Lords by Christian humanitarian, Baroness Cox, to curb the growth of Sharia courts. Sheikh Haitham al-Haddad, a representative of the Islamic Sharia Council at Leyton, told BBC Asian Network that his caseload at the east London council had ?easily more than tripled? over the past three to five years ? dealing with up to 300 disputes a month. And earlier this week leading barrister Sadakat Kadri, also a Harvard Law School contemporary of Barack Obama, called for the UK to become more Sharia-literate.
Regarding Sharia law councils, Mr Kadri said: ?It?s very important that they be acknowledged and allowed to exist.? He also told the Guardian that the courts were good for ?the community as a whole?. In 2009, think-tank Civitas reported that an estimated 85 Sharia councils could be operating in Britain.

What happened to, "when in Rome, do as the Roman's do" ?

Seniority, additional duties and subtract the number of "fact finding" overseas visits/jaunts they do.

Given that most MP's have fallen out of grace because of their lack of honesty and pilfering the taxpayers money, they are no longer in the high rankings that attract high salaries - so they must be kicked off their "high horses" and live like other voters/taxpayers. Therefore, without disrespecting other trades their salaries should mingle with hospital nurses, office staff, fishermen, lorry drivers, ticket inspectors and parking attendants.

"Multiple"? No & NO again. The last 4 decades have shown they are worth no more than the "average earner" - no disrespect to the "average earner" is implied.

By and large most of them have degraded the public service portion of their job and NO rewards should be given for merely doing their job. Brave soldiers get killed or their bodies are mutilated and get no reward. Policemen and firemen get killed and no rewards goes to them.
MP's are in a gentle, protected, occupation and on the whole they are not "special" just because they are public servants, so no special treatment or reward should be forthcoming for MP's. 
Look at the sickening treatment under HMG of this soldier: Sergeant Lee Nolan was so furious about losing out on at least ?100,000 that he sent his six military medals to David Cameron

If MP's have other jobs declared, then factor in how much time is robbed from Parliamentary duties and convert that to time/money to subtract it from their basic pay. No encouragement should be given to allow MP's a special place in our workforce as they have lost the trust of taxpayers, they are no longer worthy of higher consideration for a generation or two yet.

In short, NO.  It is difficult to compare this national job with another. Unlike the armed forces who are ready to die for their country MP's are "not in this together". Any index linking should be at par with the rest of us plebs.

Judging what comes out of Committee Chairs & their committees it is hardly worth the candle. Length of service is a fair judge of what keeps an MP in place, & what the voter thinks of him/her so it might be a fair measure.

If they pay more into their pot, they should get more out at the end. However, less taxpayer's leverage should be the order of the day. Let them use their OWN salary to fund their retirement and not rob others to swell their coffers. What do they do with their ?65,738 - or is that pocket money to some?

CARE should be the standard. MP's are no different from other workers and I am sick of the pedestal they seem to think they deserve.  Let's not bother wasting time searching for "another model". Get off the high-horse.

The basic pay of an MP surpasses most jobs. Surgeons are skilled, most MP's are not, thus the taxpayer should not be expected to contribute more than they have to and as their employers.
We the taxpayers, demand they get the minimum from us.

YES.  They deserve no more, as they got us into the mess that all taxpayers are suffering - by their hand.
NO, definitely not.  If they have proved to be of no use and another takes their place why should they be rewarded? It is akin to rewarding these overblown fools of bankers with massive bonuses after massive failures.

NO, I do not agree.  Boundary changes are not made to assist MP's staying on in their coushy job so altering the goal-posts just for them is not an option. Chasing 'seats' is unbecoming.

NO, I do NOT believe that.  Other people manage to survive after redundancy on meagre hand-outs, so they must accept the plebs charter and swallow what life throws at them and move away from the State (taxpayer) Benefits idea.


I did not go through the whole of the Register of Interests but that small sample above must give all in IPSA & others an idea of the huge amount of time and energy being greatly reduced and misplaced by conjuring MP's who indulge their minds/time and energy to matters outside their Parliamentary and constituency foremost duties.

I contend such other money-making ventures reduces the taxpayer's bang for their 'buck' considerably.

The list is almost endless of the variety of ways and schemes some MP's fritter away the week doing other things, instead of knuckling under and doing the work they were voted in to do and are handsomely paid for - discounting the very generous allowances & expenses to cover most things that 'normal' employees are never allowed to claim. These extra monies lubricate their existence whilst trying to get on with the job of being an MP and planning for their retirement, be it premature or otherwise. I believe the amount of time spend NOT getting on with the job of being an MP undermines the fundamental duty of Parliamentarians; their constituents must suffer, as must the nation, and makes a fool of taxpayers feeding this flame.

In addition, MPs receive expenses to cover the costs of running an office,
If a man runs his own business and awards himself ?65,738 any costs of running an office are HIS; he does not get help from other taxpayers, so it should be for MP's. This huge drain on public money should be severely trimmed.

employing staff,  Why should the taxpayer have to pay for these staff? 

having somewhere to live in London and in their constituency, and travelling between Parliament and their constituency.
They chose to be an MP and should shoulder the responsibilities of getting to/from London like other commuters working in London.  There should be a London hotel solely for MP's where they can have their own security guards paid for by them, not us plebs. They must come back to earth and learn to be 'normal' workers albeit in the one building now and then. There is not enough unremitting dedication given by a majority of MP's.

I commend the efforts of IPSA with its determination to squeeze hard on past deceitful behaviour (in both Houses eg Mrs Uddin) and at long last, we the taxpayer, are seeing it begin to work, despite quite a few playing offside.

Thank you IPSA (on behalf a lots of taxpayers).
Yours sincerely,
Captain Bryn Wayt

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