MPs expenses are relatively straightforward. The Additional Costs Allowance is defined as:
The Additional Costs Allowance (cost of staying away from main home/ACA) is paid to reimburse Members for necessary costs incurred when staying overnight away from their main home for the purpose of performing parliamentary duties. Inner London Members do not receive this allowance.
For some MPs to have the taxpayer pay for the following out of the additional costs allowance:
- moat dredging
- upkeep of tennis court
- upkeep of swimming pool
- clearing away molehills
- repairing dry rot on a holiday home
- Re-imbursement of stamp duty
- Paying a cleaner/housekeeper
Etc etc. Claims of this sort are quite wrong. They are not within the letter or spirit of the rules, even though the Parliament fees office may have agreed to pay them. My respect will go out to any mp who gets up and says the following:
- I’m sorry as what I did was wrong.
- I will repay the sums claimed in full.
- I will stand down at the next election.
MPs should not need a rule book to tell them the difference between right and wrong. No other tax payer would be allowed to claim these sums back as an allowable business expense or seek re-imbursement of these costs through their employer. Heads need to roll here and quickly.