Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Indigestible soundbites do not make a coherent policy

Cutting the costs of Parliament, cutting back on ministerial cars and salaries, while scrapping the subsidised restaurants in the Palace of Westminster may make for good headlines, but they really don't add up to serious proposals for cutting public spending.

There are some key questions raised about Cameron's news-grabbing non-announcement. I don't see anything wrong with supporting MPs with £10,000 per annum to produce non-party political leaflets or websites to communicate with their electors, but removing it is aimed squarely at parties without the current magnetic ability of the Conservatives to attract funding. I know of one key Conservative target in Birmingham that has had over £20,000 pumped into it from Tory HQ in one year. Despite what people believe, Labour hasn't got anything like that much cash flowing into constituency parties - and neither have the Liberal Democrats (multi-millionaires like John Hemming notwithstanding).

Incidentally, as the Guardian revealed that you could - pre-summer recess - sit down for pea and mint soup followed by steak and kidney pie for £3.45 at the Terrace restaurant, can anyone else explain how the aforementioned Liberal Democrat MP justified £400 a month in food expenses?

Nigel Griffiths makes a sound point when he reminds us that it isn't just the members who eat there
"What about the thousands of staff who work and eat here too?"

There are always unintended consequences of policy changes and I doubt that Cameron has given a thought to those who aren't quite as wealthy as the Tory frontbench.

1 comment:

Alice said...

john eats in the evening after voting closes. This is way after the house eateries close. The only places open are in the tourist haunts near his flat where for a dinner he pays £30 a night on average. He has breakfast in the house at 8.00am at a cost of about £5 full breakfast plus coffee and then lunch which is about £5. This adds up to over £500 a month ...if he does not stay down for extra meetings or feed me. (I have to pay London prices but not claim even if I help to maintain the split household location.

When i worked for the nhs I could claim out of pocket expenses in excess of £50 plus travel for a day in London and sometimes for a hotel over £100 a night. I know civil servants who get more and accountancy firms that would count this as small change.

Why dont you try it for a week.