Following the various scandals about how MPs spend our money on 'expenses' for running second homes in London. Westminster is abuzz with ideas on how to ensure that parliamentarians keep their snouts in the trough without precipitating quite so much public outrage. The simple solution would be to pay themselves more and cut out the expenses scam entirely, but there never seems a good time to raise MPs' salaries, and this is certainly one of them.
One idea that's doing the rounds is that MPs should be given a flat rate £40,000 to help with second home costs. The idea is that this would leave less scope for abuse of the system.
But it would still abuse taxpayers. £40k for 646 MPs comes to £25,840,000, which is a fair chunk of change.
But look around London. It's getting to be a good time to buy property. According to my friend James Wyatt of John D Wood, there are quite posh riverside developments looking for buyers, in London SE1, SE11, SW1, SW3, SW6 and SW11. One bedroom flats here go at around £350-£400 per week, plus utility bills and council tax.
So call it £500 per week. That works out at £16,842,142. In other words, we could give every MP his or her own London flat, everything included, and still have £9,000,000 in change from the expenses plan that our great leaders are discussing. I think we should do it. Mind you, if we cut the number MPs by about half, we'd save even more money...