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What to do about MPs' expenses:

02 Apr 2009 - Bruno Prior

Besides each candidate's name on the ballot paper should be their declared annual budget. The successful candidate's budget will be raised from local taxes. There will not be any indexing. There will not be any expenses or other allowances - the candidate has to live within their declared means. If a candidate cannot live within their declared means, they can stand down and a by-election should be held.

This would focus candidates on how much money they really need to run their affairs. In office, it would focus their attention on not spending money they don't need to spend. The lack of indexation will give them a strong incentive to oppose inflationary measures. The public, not the MPs, will be the arbiters of what each MP deserves, and not on a uniform, collective-agreement basis (as at present), but according to the needs and merits in each case. Constituents will know that they got the candidate and the budget that they deserved. Good MPs may be able to put in a higher budget and still be elected, rewarding them for their effectiveness.

Of course, getting MPs to vote for this system may be quite tricky...


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