Politicians and travel expenses

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by jimm, 19 Aug 2015.

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  1. jimm

    jimm Established Member

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    Mod note

    Split from a thread about new TPE DMU's.

    He probably didn't realise you could even get a train from his constituency into Manchester, as opposed to jumping on the first thing from Wilmslow back to London - always assuming he remembers to have the right type of ticket to sit in first class...
     
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  3. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    Except the time he had a standard class ticket and sat in first with his aide tweeting he pressed the wrong button on the ticket machine but later deleting the tweet and instead claiming Osborne wanted to upgrade because there were no table seats available in standard.
     
  4. childwallblues

    childwallblues Established Member

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    As ALL MPs get first class travel the Right Hon Member for Tatton will know this!
     
  5. Aictos

    Aictos Established Member

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    But they should not if the taxpayer is footing the bill, any travel in 1st Class ought to be footed by their own salary, indeed all and any expense claims ought to be met by their salary.

    They get paid enough so can pay their own way!
     
  6. childwallblues

    childwallblues Established Member

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    And I suppose that you should include any publicly funded body including the BBC in that then.
     
  7. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    Not any more.
    Don't you remember the protests from Nicholas Winterton about having to travel with the riff-raff?
    From the IPSA site: http://www.parliamentarystandards.org.uk/publicationsdocs/definitions.pdf
    They are basically limited to Standard Anytime fares (unless a First Class fare is cheaper).
    Rules for Cabinet Ministers might be different (security etc).
    David Cameron travelled EasyJet this week.
     
  8. aformeruser

    aformeruser Veteran Member

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    That was returning from his holiday in Portugal, so hopefully not something that he put on his expenses!
     
  9. Aictos

    Aictos Established Member

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    That might be but hardly any MP listens to it except maybe one or two in the minority, it's examples like the obscene expense claims made by the speaker of the house that I'm referring to.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-33649258
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/pol...-owning-taxpayer-funded-homes-in-capital.html

    They get paid £74k a year which is a payrise from aabout £68k which to me is more then enough to pay for their own expenses, it's not like they live in the real world where people struggle to get onto the housing ladder or earn a fraction of what a MP earns.

    Not to mention that when unions and pay conditions are mentioned in the same sentence, said MPs come out against them but it's fine for them to get payrises.

    I'm not referring to the BBC, I'm referring to the MPs in parliament who get paid more then anyone here and yet still have the gaunt to claim expenses.

    They get paid more then any single person on this forum yet it's fine?

    Anyway this is going off topic, as to the matter in hand I think it's probably be more Loco Hauled for Northern to spare DMUs for TPE.
     
  10. 455driver

    455driver Veteran Member

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    Oh I bet £5 it will be (or a claim for a similar amount will suddenly appear)! ;) :lol:
     
  11. 34D

    34D Established Member

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    Off topic, but I suspect quite a few of the train/tube drivers on here get over £74k when overtime is added in.

    I myself have had a salary higher than this in the past.

    I suspect there will be at least a dozen forum members outside the realm of train driving whose salary is over this.
     
  12. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    I completely agree. In my own field (computer programming), a very senior developer can earn about that much - and that's for doing a job that's much less stressful and involves considerably shorter hours than is typically expected of an MP. (That is for a very senior developer I stress - most developers will earn considerably less).

    In a way this debate shows how unequal UK society has become. To someone working on minimum wage and therefore struggling on an income of say £15K, an MPs salary would look unimaginably high. But compared to what a lot of businessmen and senior professionals would earn - especially in London - £74K isn't particularly high at all. I suspect that until a way is found to reduce the horrendous inequalities that have grown in the UK in recent decades, this debate on MPs salaries will be unresolvable.

    On the contrary, £74K is unlikely to be even remotely enough to pay for most MPs' reasonable expenses on top of providing the MP with a reasonable standard of living. Typically an MP's expenses will need to include:
    • Employing full-time staff to respond to the dozens of individual letters that would typically come in from constituents every day that require answering - or very often considerable casework to resolve constituents' problems - and of course the postage and office costs involved.
    • Travelling at least weekly between London and your constituency.
    • Renting a flat in London (if your constituency is not within a reasonable commute from Westminster).
    • Considerable travelling within your constituency to meet businesses, constituents etc.
    Expecting an MP to fund all that from their salaries would basically bankrupt any MP who wasn't already very wealthy before they became an MP - and would obviously have the effect of ensuring that only the very rich could afford to become MPs in the first place, thereby guaranteeing that Parliament would become [even more] out of touch with most of the population. It would also of course act as a huge disincentive for MPs to be active in their constituencies - if doing so cost them a lot of money that they could not claim back.
     
    Last edited: 23 Aug 2015
  13. trentside

    trentside Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    My local MP travels First Class using a Senior Railcard, which makes it cheaper than a Standard Anytime if he buys Off Peak First singles in each direction. How do I know? As I've sold him the tickets a few times.
     
  14. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    But surely in his case the appropriate fare is a Standard Off Peak with Railcard? An Anytime is a false comparison.
     
  15. SS4

    SS4 Established Member

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    Indeed, it's unreasonable to expect an MP from Scotland/Northern England to pay for their own travel and accommodation in their constituency from their own pocket. In real terms it is a huge pay cut compared to an MP closer to Whitehall.

    The system of expenses is a good thing and helps reduce inequality due to income and geography. MPs expenses just need to be monitored properly and subject to scrutiny to avoid spurious claims.
     
  16. trentside

    trentside Established Member Senior Fares Advisor

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    Possibly, but if they only base expenses on it being cheaper than the Anytime then he can do it legitimately.

    I know I shouldn't think like this, but I'd rather he bought a Senior Railcard BFS than an SVR/SSR for my 3.5% commission. That way I feel like I'm making something back - though in reality, probably not.
     
  17. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Legitimately yes, though I do think it should be the cheapest relevant Standard fare as it is in most companies. Though I would make an exception for people willing to use their own time to delay a journey or travel later in order to make it off peak when the relevant trains would not be.
     
    Last edited: 23 Aug 2015
  18. po8crg

    po8crg Member

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    Because politicians have much more control over their own time than most employees, it's not practical to have a rule that they can travel first class if they travel at a less convenient time.

    That's why the have the SOR rule: They can buy any ticket cheaper than an SOR, or they can pay the upgrade out of their own pocket.
     
  19. TheKnightWho

    TheKnightWho Established Member

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    It sounds alright in principle to say "MPs get enough as it is!" until you realise that you just make it unaffordable for those on low-incomes to become MPs. I'm not a big fan of seeing lots of money going their way either, but when you consider their constant travel etc. it all adds up, and the last thing we want is for MP to be a rich-man's job.
     
  20. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    But that rule causes tremendous waste. An SOR is only appropriate if the business need is to travel in the peak. If it isn't, an Off Peak is appropriate. And an Advance may be even more appropriate in many cases.

    It's this kind of mickey-taking that would lead me to ban First Class travel on business for MPs unless the whole fare was paid out of their own pocket. That would concentrate minds on waste.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    I agree, but most commercial employers no longer allow First Class travel and require the cheapest appropriate ticket to be used, which for InterCity travel is rarely an SOR. I don't think I've ever bought an InterCity SOR for business travel. I do buy them for short distance travel, but that's different; restrictions differ, daily commuting is more likely, the price is lower and there are rarely Advances.
     
    Last edited: 24 Aug 2015
  21. TheKnightWho

    TheKnightWho Established Member

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    Sorry - should've been clearer: that was aimed at people saying MPs get too much as it is, and not about whether they should get first-class travel. I really don't see the need for that, although I wonder if the current system lets them pay the difference if it's more expensive or if they have to pay the entire cost if they opt for first.
     
  22. po8crg

    po8crg Member

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    Again, the problem is that the MPs determine the business need for themselves, since they write their own schedules. The solution applied has been to publish their expenses and let voters make their own minds up on whether their behaviour is acceptable - and vote out someone that's taking the p**s.

    And they regularly need flexible tickets because of unpredictable voting requirements - if you're expecting a 5pm vote and it suddenly becomes an 8pm vote, then you missed your Advance ticket on the peak train.

    Looking at my MP, she very rarely travels on anything other than an Advance or an Off-Peak, standard class (usually an Adv single to London and an OPS from London). I think I saw two SOSs in the whole of 2014, and one of those was for a recall (when she presumably had to travel at very short notice).
     
  23. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    That does sound a good approach.

    But you might genuinely be better off buying that Advance, then if you miss it buying an Off Peak Return in the other direction (keeping the return half for later use). No need for an Anytime just in case. Or buying an Advance, and another backup one. Or whatever.

    That sounds fair enough. It's just the "it's cheaper than an Anytime so I can travel First Class" that I feel to be inappropriate. The comparison should be with the cheapest relevant Standard ticket.
     
  24. Xenophon PCDGS

    Xenophon PCDGS Veteran Member

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    Although I retired in 2010, I earned far more than the "basic MP" when I was Senior Head of Projects in basic salary alone, notwithstanding bonus options payable. So you are not 100% correct in your statement above.
     
  25. TheKnightWho

    TheKnightWho Established Member

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    To further this - I also don't understand how we can suddenly equate all jobs. MPs have a lot of expenses involved in their work, and particularly importantly it should be a position open to all, and not just those who can afford to fund it.
     
  26. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Agreed, but while all legitimate expenses should be claimed, the scrutiny of them should be at least to the standard applied by most private businesses - they must be essential to the business, and the best value for money possible. Which means that buying a First Class Advance because it's cheaper than a Standard Anytime (but there was a conveniently ignored Standard Advance available) is not appropriate.

    On *very* rare occasions there exist First Class Advances cheaper than the cheapest Standard ticket for the required trains. This would to me be fine, but I would want to see a printout of the available tickets to prove it was the case, because it is so rare.
     
    Last edited: 24 Aug 2015
  27. trainophile

    trainophile Established Member

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    Owning a Senior Rail Card is not compulsory, and presumably the MP in question paid for it him/herself, so it seems valid to me that if they can purchase a First Class ticket with railcard deduction cheaper than a full price standard class one then why not?

    A dear and sadly now departed friend of mine worked for an Independent MP as his constituency secretary. She recounted a situation where the MP had been on a trip abroad, for which he was issued with a cash allowance for any incidental expenses. When he returned, he enquired as to the procedure for paying back the surplus, only to be told no such procedure existed as no-one ever does that! Says it all about the culture :roll: .
     
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