MPs expenses, second homes, and wages.

Proposer
Floppy
State

Accepted

Vote Score

2

Age

2024 days


@Floppy edited democracy.md - over 5 years ago

published: true

How can we improve the democratic process, and citizens' engagement with it?

How can we improve the democratic process, and citizens' engagement with it?

MPs pay and expenses

MPs should be paid a good wage, based on the income profile of the country. It could, for instance, be set at the 75th income percentile, though this is not a final proposal. All MPs would receive this same wage, which would change on an annual basis as the average wage changes.

Allowed expenses would be reduced to only those costs incurred as part of their job; for instance, travel and accomodation.

Second home allowances will be scrapped, and an MPs 'hotel' will be created, providing standard apartments for them to use when staying in London.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 5 years ago

Give MPs a decent wage linked to national income, and reduce expenses to bare minimum. Create an MPs hotel to remove need for second homes.

@Floppy edited democracy.md - over 5 years ago

published: true

How can we improve the democratic process, and citizens' engagement with it?

How can we improve the democratic process, and citizens' engagement with it?

MPs pay and expenses

MPs should be paid a good wage, based on the income profile of the country. It could, for instance, be set at the 75th income percentile, though this is not a final proposal. All MPs would receive this same wage, which would change on an annual basis as the average wage changes.

Serving MPs will not allowed to hold other jobs at the same time as holding office, paid or unpaid. They may not hold directorships or advisory posts.

Allowed expenses would be reduced to only those costs incurred as part of their job; for instance, travel and accomodation.

Second home allowances will be scrapped, and an MPs 'hotel' will be created, providing standard apartments for them to use when staying in London.

frankieroberto

@frankieroberto - over 5 years ago

I'm not convinced by banning all second jobs for MPs. IF an MP can show there's no conflict with their role as an MP, both in terms of time required and conflict-of-interest, I'm not sure there's any moral grounds for a ban.

An MP's job should be constrained to reasonable working-hours (e.g. no more than 8-9 hours a day), with annual leave – so if they want to spend some of their free time working as, e.g., an assistant at a homeless shelter or even starting their own business – then that seems ok to me, and perhaps even beneficial.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 5 years ago

The idea was to avoid conflicts of interest, or conflicting demands on MPs time. It doesn't seem reasonable to me that my elected official should spend time on other things while representing me. But, perhaps that's a matter for their voters. If they have a power of recall, then perhaps this isn't required.

Completely agree on the second point though. I'll make a few changes, see what you think.

@Floppy edited democracy.md - over 5 years ago

published: true

How can we improve the democratic process, and citizens' engagement with it?

How can we improve the democratic process, and citizens' engagement with it?

MPs pay and expenses

MPs should be paid a good wage, based on the income profile of the country. It could, for instance, be set at the 75th income percentile, though this is not a final proposal. All MPs would receive this same wage, which would change on an annual basis as the average wage changes.

Serving MPs should not hold second jobs unless they can show that there is no conflict with their role as MP, both in terms of time required and conflict of interest. This includes directorships and advisory posts.

Allowed expenses would be reduced to only those costs incurred as part of their job; for instance, travel and accomodation.

Second home allowances will be scrapped, and an MPs 'hotel' will be created, providing standard apartments for them to use when staying in London.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 5 years ago

Updated to make less draconian. I see @pauljrobinson has added power of recall to #20, so I won't add that here.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 5 years ago

We should merge #20 before this one to avoid problems.

@Floppy edited democracy.md - over 5 years ago

Require all MPs to publish details of any meeting with any individual or group who is not a constituent.

Devolve all legislative powers currently enjoyed by the Scottish Parliament to equivalent devolved Parliaments in England, Wales and (eventually) Northern Ireland. The UK Parliament to retain control over macro-economic, foreign, and defence policy.

Devolve all legislative powers currently enjoyed by the Scottish Parliament to equivalent devolved Parliaments in England, Wales and (eventually) Northern Ireland. The UK Parliament to retain control over macro-economic, foreign, and defence policy.

MPs pay and expenses

MPs should be paid a good wage, based on the income profile of the country. It could, for instance, be set at the 75th income percentile, though this is not a final proposal. All MPs would receive this same wage, which would change on an annual basis as the average wage changes.

Serving MPs should not hold second jobs unless they can show that there is no conflict with their role as MP, both in terms of time required and conflict of interest. This includes directorships and advisory posts.

Allowed expenses would be reduced to only those costs incurred as part of their job; for instance, travel and accomodation.

Second home allowances will be scrapped, and an MPs 'hotel' will be created, providing standard apartments for them to use when staying in London.

@Floppy edited democracy.md - over 5 years ago

Devolution

Devolve all legislative powers currently enjoyed by the Scottish Parliament to equivalent devolved Parliaments in England, Wales and (eventually) Northern Ireland. The UK Parliament to retain control over macro-economic, foreign, and defence policy.

Devolve all legislative powers currently enjoyed by the Scottish Parliament to equivalent devolved Parliaments in England, Wales and (eventually) Northern Ireland. The UK Parliament to retain control over macro-economic, foreign, and defence policy.

MPs pay and expenses

MPs should be paid a good wage, based on the income profile of the country. It could, for instance, be set at the 75th income percentile, though this is not a final proposal. All MPs would receive this same wage, which would change on an annual basis as the average wage changes.

Serving MPs should not hold second jobs unless they can show that there is no conflict with their role as MP, both in terms of time required and conflict of interest. This includes directorships and advisory posts.

Allowed expenses would be reduced to only those costs incurred as part of their job; for instance, travel and accomodation.

Second home allowances will be scrapped, and an MPs 'hotel' will be created, providing standard apartments for them to use when staying in London.

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 5 years ago

👍 (except the hotel bit)

Floppy

@Floppy - over 5 years ago

@philipjohn how do you mean? I reckon it's cheaper to have dedicated accomodation for MPs while in London than to allow second homes; I don't think you'd want to have them staying just anywhere, for security and facilities reasons.

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 5 years ago

I agree with James: a dedicated block of flats for all MPs. 👍

with kind regards, Paul Robinson

about.me/pauljrobinson

On 8 January 2014 09:08, James Smith [email protected] wrote:

@philipjohn https://github.com/philipjohn how do you mean? I reckon it's cheaper to have dedicated accomodation for MPs while in London than to allow second homes; I don't think you'd want to have them staying just anywhere, for security and facilities reasons.

— Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHubhttps://github.com/openpolitics/manifesto/pull/19#issuecomment-31815236 .

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 5 years ago

I'm coming at it from the whole 'out of touch' argument point of view. I suspect MPs aren't the only people on that kind of salary commuting in and going home at the weekend. They probably don't get a custom built hotel so why should MPs?

It's much more beneficial to the relationship between MPs and the electorate if, like most people, they are given a salary and perhaps travel expenses, and the rest they find themselves out of their salary - rather than having special treatment.

Plus, a single building to house them all invites additional maintenance costs not to mention the security implications (and therefore cost) of having all the members of the upper house in one place at a time. Terrorist wet dream, surely?

Floppy

@Floppy - over 5 years ago

All in one place would be cheaper to maintain and secure, I'm sure. I'm also fairly sure that companies with many employees staying in London on expenses for a week at a time would make the same decision, and use rented flats rather than hotels.

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 5 years ago

Apart from those MPs representing constituencies within Greater London or the Home Counties, most will be working away from their constituents, friends and families. They are currently have the authority to purchase or rent a second home within the M25 (or perhaps just Zone 6 of the Tube, not sure of the specifics) because their job requires them to be there. So we are already (quite rightly) paying for them to live in London. If your boss/job required you to spend 3 out of 4 weeks living in the Shetlands, you would expect the company to pay for it.

Even those MPs living in Greater London or the Home Counties will still have difficulties getting home each night (unless they are one of a handful of central London MPs) because of the working hours in Parliament when debates and divisions can finish in the early hours (although this is a different issue - as Parliament needs to sort out their working conditions). But the point is that even a 'normal' commute from Guildford, St Albans or Southend becomes tricky when you're leaving Parliament at 0100 in the morning.

The security required would be similar to the security of Parliament - difficult, expensive, but not unfeasible. Given that many Cabinet members have security at the London residence anyway, if they were all staying in one place the overall number of Protection Officers that are required may even be reduced!

I'm certainly all for increasing their salary (and fixing the future rate of increase to average earnings) and reducing their allowances and expenses even further, but I think accommodation is one peculiar area where the taxpayer should provide a simple uniform solution that cannot be abused.

with kind regards, Paul Robinson

about.me/pauljrobinson

On 8 January 2014 18:22, philipjohn [email protected] wrote:

I'm coming at it from the whole 'out of touch' argument point of view. I suspect MPs aren't the only people on that kind of salary commuting in and going home at the weekend. They probably don't get a custom built hotel so why should MPs?

It's much more beneficial to the relationship between MPs and the electorate if, like most people, they are given a salary and perhaps travel expenses, and the rest they find themselves out of their salary - rather than having special treatment.

Plus, a single building to house them all invites additional maintenance costs not to mention the security implications (and therefore cost) of having all the members of the upper house in one place at a time. Terrorist wet dream, surely?

— Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHubhttps://github.com/openpolitics/manifesto/pull/19#issuecomment-31862392 .

Floppy

@Floppy - over 5 years ago

Yep, that's it. Much less scope for abuse.

frankieroberto

@frankieroberto - over 5 years ago

Rather than a single 'MPs hotel', wouldn't it be simpler and easier to just set up a governmental room-booking services, by which MPs (and perhaps civil servants, and other government officials) could book rooms through a central service, either on a one-off or on a longer-term basis. The service could provide these rooms through either negotiating rates with existing hotels / accommodation providers, or through buying and running some accommodation blocks (most likely a mixture of the two). This would provide more flexibility, is probably more cost-effective, and allows MPs some choice in which parts of London or what types of room to book.

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 5 years ago

That sounds reasonable, yeah and probably more in line with what other orgs do, as suggested by @PaulJRobinson earlier.

timcowlishaw

@timcowlishaw - over 5 years ago

One problem I have with current MP's renumeration is that it's set centrally. If MP's report to their constituents, their performance and remuneration should be evaluated and set by those constituents themselves.

I'd propose a system whereby an MP's constituency office receives a set grant for all costs related to representation in the HoC (office running costs, parliamentary assistants, campaigining, MP's salary and expenses), and a panel of constituents (selected to be diverse and avoid conflicts of interest) set a yearly budget for that constituency. This would also have the nice side effect of allowing indepenent MPs to access the same sort of resources as those with party affiliations (assuming we also fixed our broken electoral system to give them a chance of being elected in the first place!)

Floppy

@Floppy - over 5 years ago

@frankieroberto yes, OK, that's a good middle ground. I will amend. @timcowlishaw, do you want to do a separate proposal for that idea?

@Floppy edited democracy.md - over 5 years ago

Devolution

Devolve all legislative powers currently enjoyed by the Scottish Parliament to equivalent devolved Parliaments in England, Wales and (eventually) Northern Ireland. The UK Parliament to retain control over macro-economic, foreign, and defence policy.

Devolve all legislative powers currently enjoyed by the Scottish Parliament to equivalent devolved Parliaments in England, Wales and (eventually) Northern Ireland. The UK Parliament to retain control over macro-economic, foreign, and defence policy.

MPs pay and expenses

MPs should be paid a good wage, based on the income profile of the country. It could, for instance, be set at the 75th income percentile, though this is not a final proposal. All MPs would receive this same wage, which would change on an annual basis as the average wage changes.

Serving MPs should not hold second jobs unless they can show that there is no conflict with their role as MP, both in terms of time required and conflict of interest. This includes directorships and advisory posts.

Allowed expenses would be reduced to only those costs incurred as part of their job; for instance, travel and accomodation.

Second home allowances will be scrapped, and an MPs 'hotel' will be created, providing standard apartments for them to use when staying in London.

Government Ministers

@Floppy edited democracy.md - over 5 years ago

Devolution

Devolve all legislative powers currently enjoyed by the Scottish Parliament to equivalent devolved Parliaments in England, Wales and (eventually) Northern Ireland. The UK Parliament to retain control over macro-economic, foreign, and defence policy.

Devolve all legislative powers currently enjoyed by the Scottish Parliament to equivalent devolved Parliaments in England, Wales and (eventually) Northern Ireland. The UK Parliament to retain control over macro-economic, foreign, and defence policy.

MPs pay and expenses

MPs should be paid a good wage, based on the income profile of the country. It could, for instance, be set at the 75th income percentile, though this is not a final proposal. All MPs would receive this same wage, which would change on an annual basis as the average wage changes.

Serving MPs should not hold second jobs unless they can show that there is no conflict with their role as MP, both in terms of time required and conflict of interest. This includes directorships and advisory posts.

Allowed expenses would be reduced to only those costs incurred as part of their job; for instance, travel and accomodation.

Second home allowances will be scrapped, and MPs will instead have accomodation provided through parliament. This could be in dedicated accomodation, existing hotels, or long-term leases as appropriate. All MPs would be equally treated under this system.

Government Ministers

Floppy

@Floppy - over 5 years ago

I've updated this to reflect the discussion above. Votes please!

timcowlishaw

@timcowlishaw - over 5 years ago

Aargh, sorry - I never produced a PR on local accountability and budget setting, will do so ASAP. I'm an abstention on this one I think, as while I think it's a perfectly reasonable approach if MPs salaries are set centrally, I'd still be in favour of this being set at a constituency level. Will outline more in a separate PR though.

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 5 years ago

I'm pretty close to thumbsup. Not sure about use of hotels in London as MPs are elected for 5 years which is highly predictable for the purposes of organising accomodation. There shouldn't ever be the need for hotels which is about the most expensive way of accomodating people.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 5 years ago

I think that this leaves it all open to use the most cost-effective method at the time, which is better than prescribing a specific solution.

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - over 5 years ago

👍

with kind regards, Paul Robinson

about.me/pauljrobinson

On 29 January 2014 09:40, James Smith [email protected] wrote:

I think that this leaves it all open to use the most cost-effective method at the time, which is better than prescribing a specific solution.

Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHubhttps://github.com/openpolitics/manifesto/pull/19#issuecomment-33569172 .

Floppy

@Floppy - over 5 years ago

@philipjohn @frankieroberto @timcowlishaw can we get one more thumb up on this one and get it merged in?

Floppy

@Floppy - over 5 years ago

I think @philipjohn is in agreement now, reading back, but it's best to be sure.

philipjohn

@philipjohn - over 5 years ago

Sorry, been distracted! 👍 from me, sounds great