Unlock Democracy responds to property renting expenses scandal

By staff writers
19 Oct 2012

The brewing scandal whereby MPs are reportedly claiming expenses to rent homes while letting their own property, needs addressing immediately, say political reformers.

There is also concern that the Speaker of the House of Commons is attempting to block disclosure of names of MPs involved.

Unlock Democracy’s director, Peter Facey, commented: “It looks as though lessons from the past have not been learned."

He continued: "Following the 2009 expenses scandal, we were promised greater transparency, yet once again we see a Speaker attempting to block disclosure of information surrounding expenses.

“We understand concerns about security in disclosing personal addresses, but it would not violate security to publish a list of names of MPs renting out their taxpayer-subsidised homes then claiming rent from the taxpayer and putting it into the hands of private landlords, nor would it violate security to publish a list of MPs letting their homes to one another.

"Security concerns were the excuse used to block disclosure of expenses in 2009, and it is a shame to see it being used again.

“This scandal shows us that we need to go back to the drawing board on accommodation for MPs. In the past they benefited from taxpayers’ money. Presently, it is private landlords pocketing taxpayers’ money, and the public are still the losers.

"What we need to see is parliament owning property in London which MPs can rent, with any profits raised from this being returned to the public purse. This system has been shown to work in accommodation for service people, and what’s good enough for the armed forces should be good enough for MPs,” concluded Mr Facey.

Unlock Democracy is a leading campaign for democracy, rights and freedoms, incorporating the former Charter 88 and the New Politics Network

* More on Unlock Democracy: www.unlockdemocracy.org.uk

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