New expenses regime 'impeding' MPs

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The new parliamentary expenses regime is 'impeding' MPs and must be reformed, Sir George Young said

The new parliamentary expenses regime is “impeding” MPs in doing their jobs and must be reformed within the next two months, the Leader of the House of Commons has said.

In a highly critical statement, Sir George Young said the system set up by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) was “failing in many respects” to support the Commons.

Certain “highly unsatisfactory” aspects of the reformed expenses are “at best distracting, and at worst impeding” the work of MPs.

The new system is deterring people from less affluent backgrounds from becoming MPs and putting “undue pressure” on the family lives of existing parliamentarians, he said.

In a submission to the annual review of the new scheme, Sir George called for improvements to be agreed, if not introduced, by April 1.

His intervention came as Ipsa published the latest tranche of MPs’ claims. MPs had 154 claims for expenses rejected by the body between September 15 and the end of October. They were collectively worth £15,352.49.

Another £3,641,081.09 was paid out in legitimate claims to 622 MPs in September and October.

Ipsa has incurred the wrath of hundreds of MPs since being set up to administer their expenses in the aftermath of the 2009 scandal.

Sir George said: “I believe that the current expenses scheme, as designed, implemented and administered by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, is failing in many respects adequately to support MPs to undertake their responsibilities.

“In addition, some aspects of the new regime are in danger of deterring people from less affluent backgrounds from becoming – and in some cases remaining – Members of Parliament and are also placing undue pressure on some MPs’ family lives.”

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