Monday, 11 May 2009

Expenses At Your Expense

MP’s expenses! I won’t go into the background because more column inches devoted to this story are being added to the newspapers by the minute.

I just want to point out life at the other end of the spectrum.
I’m chairman of a Local Access Forum (LAF). LAFs were set up early in the decade by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, under the umbrella of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to oversee the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, making sure that highway authorities, National Parks etc apply it correctly.

The only expenses that I am allowed are for travelling to and fro meetings or on-site inspections. No second home in Mayfair, not even a Kit Kat or a buckshee bag of compost.

When I put my claim in I always put the distance I have travelled down correct to the nearest inch, never adding a mile here or a few hundred yards there, and then multiply it by the 40p, yes four zero pence, per mile I’m allowed for the use of my car. I then have to fight tooth and nail to get it! A little while ago I submitted a form for reimbursement of two years worth of expenses, around £80. It took over four months to get it paid.

I’m not against MPs receiving expenses, but to abuse a system that is already generous to them certainly doesn’t make them look like the trustworthy candidates that canvassed your vote at the last election.

The question that should never have been asked is, do MPs seek election to represent their constituents, or are they only in it for the money?

I don’t think that the jury will be out long on this one!

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