Friday, October 26, 2007

Is he "just like you"?

So yesterday the expenses of MPs were published. A yearly ritual where we find out who is good and who is bad with our money. Who is spendthrift and who is a fat politician that takes the mick with our money providing very little value in return. Take for example, the West Midlands MP, Sion Simon who as you may recall derided David Cameron for trying to be just like you. Is Sion Simon just like you though?

Last year, he claimed £14,176 for rail expenses. OK you may say, but he lives in Birmingham so he has to catch the train a lot right? Well let's see shall we. He claims the full £22,000 a year allowance for staying away from his constituency. And how much does it cost to get to his constituency anyway? Well you can get there for as little as £4. Even at peak times the cost of a Virgin direct train is only around £50 return. Travelling home every weekend for his constituency surgery over a 52 week year could only cost a maximum of about £3000.

Does he go back every weekend for surgery though? No he does not. This MP cares so much about his constituents that he only has seven surgeries a year. Yes honestly, seven. So what's that in rail fares? £350 maximum? Even if he made the journey in every one of the 38 weeks that Parliament sits his rail travel would only cost about £2,000. Perhaps he's travelling first class though? That would be about £69 return taking the total rail cost to around £5,000.

There seems to be somewhere around £10,000 that just doesn't add up doesn't there? After all is an MP that claims £22,000 a year to live in London seriously trying to tell us that his surgeries that are little over 100 miles away cost him £2000 each time he goes to one? One thing is for sure, Sion Simon is most defintely not "just like you".


Old BE said...

Do they have to provide receipts?

I went to Brum for work the other week and had to justify the £70-odd it cost me because I wasn't able to predict which return journey I was to make. MPs should respect the taxpayers and should have to provide receipts for every journey.

It also doesn't cost me £22,000 a year to live in London why should I pay Simple Simon that much to live at a better standard than I enjoy?

My local MP charges travel expenses when her constituency is within walking distance of Parliament.

Anonymous said...

Sion Simon is an odious rat with one of the worst hair cuts I have ever seen. Honestly, what the hell is that on top of his head?

The black hole in his expenses is a disgrace. Perhaps some sort of "" style website would encourage him to explain quite how he can justify taking the piss like this.


Mostly Ordinary said...

About time those expenses were itemized.

Sir Dando Tweakshafte said...

If there are many more stories like this we'll soon be treated to the annual "this works out at less than a packet of crisps per household per fortnight and so no-one should complain" article from some Nulab trustee like Mad Polly.

(you read it here first, though)

At least we can console ourselves with the thought that this tosser isn't blowing his fiddled dosh on hairdressers...

Anonymous said...

So on top of a salary few of them could earn in the private sector and fully expensed staff (amazing how the self-employed have to pay staff out of the money they generate) by making or selling things) plus £22,000 for London accomadation this squawker claims over £250 per week, every week of the year, recess times included just for Rail travel. As they have made the HOC child friendly and sit in the day (ludicrous idea) why does he not go home anyway? On a season ticket.

Glyn H

Anonymous said...

Glyn H, I hope you're not attacking Parliamentary staff, like me, with that post.

And you say fully expensed staff? There's, pretty much, only one thing we can claim for - and that's travel to the constituency on constituency business - so for surgeries, etc.

We can claim no food, drink, 'ordinary travel' (to and from work), many of us make calls on our personal phones on behalf of our bosses, outside of working time, we can't claim that - and the list goes on.

Considering our recommended pay is £18,000 (and the majority of recent graduates don't even get that), and we have to pay rent and bills at London rates from within that, and our travel on top of that. Oh, and food. With all that we're left with next to no disposable income - let alone saving to one day be able to get on the housing ladder.

Fully expensed? We do the job for the love of it, not for the rewards - believe me, the rewards are a hell of a lot better elsewhere.

By all means attack some of the greediest MPs out there, but don't attack their hard working and dedicated staff.

Praguetory said...

This is beyond a joke - I've moved from irked to livid about this horrendous waste. I've just found this ticket with Chiltern trains who appear to run 50 or 60 trains a day between Birmingham and London.
Monthly Travelcard Season Ticket - �583.70.
It is valid on any train. Includes as many rides as you like on London's tubes and buses. Being as Parliament does not sit in August or September, his absolute maximum train bill ought to be �5,837.

He could even buy a season ticket now for �6k and save the taxpayer �8k. This man shouldn't be an MP.

Anonymous said...

@ Researcher


Do you seriously expect your employer (i.e. the public) to payfor your food, drink and journeys to work ?

Join the real world. Wanker.

JuliaM said...

"We can claim no food, drink, 'ordinary travel' (to and from work)..."

So, er, just like anyone else then...?

"I hope you're not attacking Parliamentary staff, like me, with that post.....By all means attack some of the greediest MPs out there, but don't attack their hard working and dedicated staff."

I've just reread the post for the fifth time, and all I can see a mention of is the word 'MP'.

Not 'researcher', 'staff' or anything else.

So whoever you work for, I'd suggest he isn't getting value for money, as far as your reading comprehension goes...

Anonymous said...

SS really is a complete nosher. There's not much more that can be said.

Old BE said...

We do the job for the love of it, not for the rewards

Or perhaps having "parliamentary researcher" on your CV when you apply for seats in the near future?

Simon's CV shows that he has barely worked for anyone outside the Labour Party - greasy poll all the way.

PT - Greg Hands MP just claims the cost of his Zone 1 & 2 travelcard so why shouldn't other MPs do the same? In fact they shouldn't be able to claim any commuting in my view, most of us can't. If poor Sion Simon can't afford to get to work perhaps he should find employment nearer to his "home"?

Anonymous said...

I doubt you're going to make any allowances for Sion Simon's choroideremia, Dizzy (look it up if you have to), and nor should you.

dizzy said...

If it had bugger all to with his rail expenses then perhaps I would, but it doesn't.

Praguetory said...

choroideremia - Is extreme trainspotting a symptom?

Anonymous said...

Researcher - I was not having a go at the staff - my own daughter considered such a position herself - but the fact that MPs (and doctors) get allowances to pay staff whilst the rest of us have to generate money to employ people. The state does not pay my solicitor or accountant for their neccessary support staff. (That dates me - I'm in my 50's; years ago MP's were considered as such pepole. One can hardly regard them as such today with the likes of Sarah Tether and many other very light-weigh types in the commons)

'Expensed' meant the cost to the MP not the 'perks' his secretary or reseacher receive. To read that into my post was to spin it in a way not implied in what I wrote - or did you really misunderstand my point?

Glyn H

Anonymous said...

they dont need to prove it just not go over the limit which they nearly all reach.

Ralph said...

Stupid Haircut is getting paid circa £38 a day for rail expenses which is more than the cost of a return ticket from London to Birmingham.

Unsworth said...

A clear analysis of 'interesting' and 'creative' accounting. Well done.

Sadly Simon is not alone.

The sooner there is real transparency and MPs are required to publish their annual accounts both in their constituencies and nationally the better.

Matt Wardman said...

Looking at the money - what exactly does that allowance have to cover?

Staff travel perhaps?

Ralph said...

As an annual season ticket from Birmingham to London costs £6,080 he (plus one staff member) could have unlimited travel and still cost the taxpayer a few thousand less than Simple Simon is.

Anonymous said...

There is a separate category for staff travel. That is not an explanation. See full rules.

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