Tuesday, 27 July 2010


TB's bag-carrying amigo is raging. The £6.5m omnishambles that is the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has been forced to extend the deadline for MP’s first claims. Initially the organisation had insisted all claims had to be submitted within 90 days, but MP’s are so bemused by the system that most of them are yet to make a claim.

So far just 279 out of 650 MPs have claimed expenses, whereas the rest have funded office equipment, travel and hotels out of their own pockets. The deadline for their claims would be 7th August onwards but IPSA has rushed out a note to say that MP’s will have until 1st October for these first claims.

While TB has little sympathy with many Members, the fact that they can't even run an office is a joke. There is a difference between lining their pockets and actually doing their job. The staffer told him earlier; “We all agree with the new expenses rules, but IPSA itself is an expensive shambles. Anyone wanting to go into parliament today would need at least £10,000 in cash to cover IPSA’s inadequacies. The fact is that the system is confusing and bureaucratic. They need to abolish IPSA asap.”

Sounds like a plan. They should just give them all debit cards from Parliament bank account. Statement published monthly. Simples. 



It is interesting. 10 staff work in the Allowances Office in the Scottish Parliament. Between them, they manage all the expenses and allowances for 129 MSPs with no complaints. All items of allowable expenditure are paid, recorded and published on a searchable online database.

Westminster has 650 MPs. If they ran the same kind of operation as the Scottish Parliament we could expect a staff of around 50 - 60. But that is clearly not the case. Even taking into account that they work out of a separate office, I cannot see how IPSA can cost £6.5 million.

But then, looking at their website, IPSA appears to have a cast of thousands with a Chief Executive, a Human Resources Director, a Director of Policy, a Head of Secretariat, a Director of Finance and an Acting Director of Operations/ Deputy Director of Finance.

Can all these people really be necessary? I suggest that what they need is not a lot of senior management posts but one or two executive officers and a team of competent administrators beneath them.


Perhaps they'd like to try the Rural Payments Agency, the Benefits Agency, HMRC etc etc etc.
They can certainly dish it out. Now they can take it.

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