Thursday, 17 January 2008

The Late Lunch Briefing

Still here Peter?

Well he still hasn’t gone and I’m not sure anyone quite knows why. The best anyone can say about him is he is incompetent – which is better than being a crook, but not one of the key criteria you are looking for in a cabinet minister in charge of our pensions. I think the most resounding example of how embarrassed even Labour supporters are by the orange one is the resounding silence that met the news that 80 Tory MPs have been reported for financial irregularities.

A stunt?

Quite why 80 Tory MPs have been reported by Labour MPs John Mann and Kevan Jones to the Electoral Commission I am not sure. But I find it hard to believe that all 80 of these MPs have fallen foul of the rules. If they have then it is going to be a quiet Commons when they are all suspended! This does beg the question though, if this was just an opportune stunt aimed at taking the heat of Hain, has it really worked? The clear answer is no. All it has done is fan the flames and kept it in the media’s and electorate conscience. Either way, it seems that it is a non-story and won’t run very far. As for Peter Hain, why he hasn’t run off by now is anyone’s guess. Surely he can’t last out this one? Surely!

Sick pay for Lords? D’oh!!

Over to the House of Lords where the old and decrepit seem to be having a bit of difficulty in understanding the terms and conditions of being a Lord. It seems that some of them want to be paid sick pay when they get ill. I am sure they do. What no-one seems to have told these doddering old fools is that they don’t actually get paid to be a Lord. I am sure it has come as a shock to the buffoons who have been demanding this sick pay and they may well now be reconsidering whether it was worth donating all that cash to the government for the peerage. Allegedly.

Of course, this won’t be worrying too many of them really. They know how to milk the system. In fact, they know so well it is apparent they are milking it without even realising. The rules for Lords are that if they attend a sitting they can claim back up to £308 a day in expenses. There is officially no salary to being a Lord, you do it for free. However, if a Lord attends every sitting in a year they could effectively claim a salary of £37,000 a year. Tax-free! You’d be amazed how much it must cost some of these Lords to travel a few miles to London – about £308 in most cases. The problem is there are virtually no checks on this expenses claims system and so they are all raking in a nice little earner.

The Senior Salaries Review Body has said that it would not be sensible to require Lords to produce receipts to proove their expense claims. Not sensible? Why ever not? That is the least sensible thing I have ever heard. Of course it is sensible – we have a load of Lords who think that they are getting paid to do a job when actually they are just robbing the tax payer by making false expense claims.

No comments: