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".