It is beginning to appear as if expenses without receipts is an addictive disease, since the continued contempt for the hand that feeds them can only be interpreted as a psychological disorder. When the old subsistence claim was scrapped, the Commons Estimates Committee passed a new benefit that was even more egregious than the old one. This does not fit with the rhetoric of a 'clean up'. But, knowing that this might be unpopular, they sneaked it out:
But the members estimate committee – including Harriet Harman, the Leader of the House, – had drawn up rules that allowed MPs to claim £25 for each night spent away from their designated main home, without needing to prove where they were or what food they bought. The wording of the Green Book makes clear: “No receipts are necessary for this claim to be made.” Politicians were allowed to start claiming the new subsistence allowance from the start of the financial year in April. ...
But the members estimate committee chose not to change the subsistence arrangements and they were confirmed in a revised edition of the Green Book slipped out quietly on July 13. Sir Christopher is likely to propose scrapping the £25-a-night flat rate for subsistence when he reports in October, or at least demand that receipts are produced for every single cup of coffee or sandwich.
The expense will now be scrapped or brought in line with the demand for audited receipts. The last gasp of the incumbents, clawing for cash, is an unedifying sight, and the role of Harriet Harman at sleaze central, does Brown's administration no favours. How ironic that the Tories were downed with cash for questions and Labour are being done down by cash without question. Different avenue, same problem .