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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Tory MEPs take the lead in publishing details of £108K yearly expenses

The British Conservatives have set an admirable lead for the rest of Europe to follow by publishing details of their expenses over the past four months.

It follows Open Europe's Transparency Initiative, launched last year, which called on UK MEPs to answer some simple questions about how they spend their expenses and staff allowances.

It's great to see that David Cameron meant business when he told the Party conference in October that he would crack down on "Expenses and allowances that wouldn’t stand for one second in the private sector", and said that this applied also to the EU.

Unfotunately (there's always one), Christopher Beazley declined to join in and publish his expenses. When we tried to get information out of him last year, he told us: “I would have to question the legality of these questions. What right do you have to ask these?” He argued that MEPs' taxpayer funded expense claims were not "a public matter", that it was "private". Ironically, he also insisted that, "everything I do is as transparent as possible”.

But apart from that black sheep, the Conservatives should be praised for taking this step and producing information that is - ridicuously - not required of them by the rules of the European Parliament.

Now we call on Labour and the Lib Dems and all the others to follow suit.

The figures themselves make for some interesting reading. By our calculations, Conservative MEPs have on average cost the UK taxpayer £36,303 each for expenses, travel and allowances in 4 months alone. So over a year that is £108,910 each. It's a fair bet that this will be no different for all our MEPs.

If you times that by the number of members of the European Parliament (785) you're looking at costs per year of an eye-watering £85,494,350 for the whole of Europe.

And that's not allowing for the fact that many MEPs will be spending far more than British MEPs on travel between home and the European Parliament.

It also doesn't even begin to cover their salary and staff costs, of course.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What on earth can be done to halt this. It is corrupt - especially as the article says most employ family members - its all a racket. No wonder this world is in such a state.
Greed greed and more greed, whilst the general population are working their socks off here in Britain for a mere pittance.