MPs face tighter restrictions on their taxpayer-funded credit cards after it arose scores have used them for individual expenses and it appears that hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of non-claimable spending has been put on official payment cards since 2010.
Some 100 MPs have used the cards for at least three purchases that they subsequently didn’t seek to get compensated for, and for 14 MPs, more than 15 per cent of their transactions were classified as personal costs, and only 23 per cent have never used the cards for anything outside the rules.
The details were announced in an assurance report by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), which is said to now be toughening up the system.
Payment cards are issued to politicians so they don’t have to shell out up-front for travel tickets and a multitude of other outlays relating to their job, and up to £4,000 a month can be put on the tab, and individual transactions can be up to £2,000.
However, the spending is only checked retrospectively, after IPSA has paid the balance, and the arrangements have before created trouble when MPs have either had claims denied, recorded them late, or spent on personal things.
IPSA said that it had temporarily deactivated cards 1,111 times between May 2015 and November 2018, which is done while claims are outstanding or to collect money from MPs.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request previously revealed that Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn were amongst dozens who had the privilege waived. Boris Johnson faced the sanction once and Jeremy Corbyn twice, and for both, it was because they were late adjusting figures rather than over debts.
However, only five MPs have been contacted about repeated misuse of cards since 2015, and none had theirs permanently withdrawn, despite four of them repeating the breach at least once after.
Since 2010 £473,000 of transactions on cards weren’t claimed for, and about £198,000 was spending outside the expense scheme, and the report emphasised that misuse of the cards was a comparatively insignificant dilemma, stating the expenditure on personal things amounted to only 0.5 per cent of the total on cards.
It further asserted that while MPs might have had a personal benefit from the interest-free credit, all funds were recovered and that a really small number of MPs have used their payment card many times for personal expense, with 14 MPs identified as having used their payment cards for personal expenditure in over 15 per cent of their purchases.
IPSA frequently turns off MPs payment cards when they decline to present evidence on time or when they neglect to settle their card on time. However, there have been some instances of repeated abuse by MPs and were not addressed promptly and as a consequence, the benefit may have been given to the few MPs who used the card for personal expenses, in the form of an interest-free period before the costs were collected.
IPSA maintained since the election in December last year it had toughened up its methods to crack down on misuse of the cards and that under new policy, if any money is owed by an MP and isn’t paid within 30 days, the MPs card will be suspended until the account is collected or a repayment plan is in place.
The new system also includes more effective methods for dealing with abuse of the payment card, and serious or steadfast violations of the requirements will result in the card being suspended for up to six months or removed altogether.
And if they do discover an abuse of the cards and of course they will, if a proper investigation is done, what about all those MPs who’ve been voted out, retired or resigned their seats? Will they be made to pay back the money they owe?
In Greed They Trust, and there’s no boundary to their want to take money from the state purse by any means attainable and it seems that they claim for everything and don’t pay a single bill.
Their wages are simply additional spending money or they could save the entire thing as they don’t have to use it and most have infinite amounts written down on their claim form.
We seem to have an unelected House of Lords getting rewarded for nothing and now we’re financing 4k a month on credit cards and we shouldn’t have to put up with this but they won’t face any tougher restrictions, everything will simply carry on as before.
It’s chock-full of people who get considerably more than their MPs wages, with access to all other perks that come with being an MP, and it’s clear to see why because it’s money, money and more money, and this is what is generally known as stealing and just another clandestine way to feast from the trough.