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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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MPs expenses

Friday, May 22, 2009

Frankly I have been amazed by some of the information that has come to light; both about the nature of some of the claims that have been made, and that some of these claims have been paid. It is clear that the rules for making claims have been too lax, and the mechanism for approving them has not been sufficiently robust. I accept that some of the claims submitted have damaged trust in Parliament.


I have always believed, and acted on the assumption, that Parliamentary Allowances were designed to help Members of Parliament do their jobs effectively. I have always submitted my claims, receipted as appropriate, in accordance with both the spirit and intention of the rules and guidance provided by the Fees Office at the House of Commons. My records have always been available for inspection by the finance officers and auditors of the House of Commons.


I support the Freedom of Information Act brought in by this government in 2000, without it we would not know just what has gone on. In the interests of transparency, I have published details of my expenses on my website. My home is the same house that I have lived in for sixteen years, long before I was elected as a Member of Parliament. When in London on parliamentary business I stay in a flat for which I claim mortgage interest. This property is designated as the accommodation on which I can claim from the Additional Costs Allowance.


In the short term the House of Commons will tighten the scrutiny of claims, and improve both internal and external audit arrangements. Everyone will be required to follow the new, tighter rules. As you may know, the Committee on Standards in Public Life are undertaking a review into the whole area of expenses and will report in a matter of months. I trust that their recommendations about future arrangements can be put in place quickly.


I believe that it is essential that MPs receive financial help to enable them to do their job. We should not return to the day when only wealthy people could afford to stand for Parliament.

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