Mortgage payments to go in expenses shake-up

Author: Press Association

The chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Sir Christopher
Kelly, said that the proposals were “fair and reasonable” and
would bring Westminster into line with other walks of life and other
legislatures.

He acknowledged that his wide-ranging proposals would mean “substantial
change” for MPs and said that, where necessary, they should be phased
in with a suitable period of transition.

The key recommendations include giving the new Independent Parliamentary
Standards Authority (IPSA) the power to determine the pay and pensions of
MPs as well as their expenses.

Claims for the mortgage interest should be brought to an end with “appropriate
transitional provisions” of one more Parliament, or for five years.

The report said that there should be no further capital gains at public
expense, and the controversial practice of “flipping” properties should no
longer be possible.

Any capital gains made during the transitional period attributable to public
support would have to be paid back to the taxpayer.

In future, MPs should only be able to claim for rent or hotel costs, while the
expenses scheme should only cover council tax, utility bills, telephone line
rental and calls, security, contents insurance and removals at the beginning
and end of a tenancy.

The costs of cleaning, gardening, furnishings and other items would not be
claimable.

The committee said that MPs with constituencies within “reasonable commuting
distance” of Parliament should no longer be able to claim for a second home
at all.

It said the practice of MPs employing members of their families should be
brought to an end by the end of the next Parliament, or within five years.

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