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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Planes, trains and automobiles

So MPs spend fortunes on expenses. There’s a surprise. However, the defence of Scottish MP’s – that they are obliged to spend £40,000 odd a year to travel between their constituencies and the Houses of Parliament – is somewhat weak.
I can’t help thinking that, if they were ever obliged to pay for their own travel costs, they might not be so keen on the congestion charge, they might think twice about the road tolls the government is proposing and they’d probably do more to address the increasingly-ludicrous prices train companies charge the rest of us to get from A to B…

‘Scottish MPs claimed the most, Labour MP for Falkirk Eric Joyce topped the list with £44,985 and Orkney's Lib Dem MP Alistair Carmichael claimed £38,750.
Overall MPs spent about £2m on driving, £1.5m on trains and £1m on flights.
Mr Joyce said the amount he claimed was down to travelling between London and his constituency, and promised to review the number of meetings he travelled north to attend.
"Expenses for Scottish MPs are different to other MPs, because of the geography and distance," he said.
Total expenses claims for last year - including travel, the cost of running constituency offices and constituency homes - were £86.6m, up £6m from the previous year.’

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