MPs 'should get pay rise and homes cash'



MPS should be handed a pay rise and have an allowance to kit out their second homes, an Sheffield MP has controversially claimed.

Sheffield Heeley MP Meg Munn said pay should be increased to "reflect the need to have two homes" and called for a set-up allowance to allow new MPs to furnish second homes.She said: "It cannot be right that MPs whose background is one of limited
unable to buy a bed or chair."

Ms Munn is one of a number of MPs who have made submissions to an inquiry into the discredited MPs' expenses system which call for a salary increase.

The Star reported last week that Sheffield Brightside MP David Blunkett told the Committee on Standards in Public Life it was time to "bite the bullet" and increase MPs' £64,766 salary.

Ms Munn's evidence opposed the suggestion of allowing MPs to claim only for rental payments, insisting subsidising mortgage interest payments was "often the cheapest option for public money".

She added: "An alternative suggestion, which I would support, is that the pay of MPs should be increased to reflect the need to have two homes.

"This would ensure the amount is taxable and would leave individual MPs to make arrangements that best suit them.

"It would also do away with a layer of bureaucracy in the House of Commons Fees Office.

"Barnsley Central MP Eric Illsley called for an "enhanced salary" or a flat rate allowance, saying replacing the controversial second home allowance with a "substantial" pay rise would "require a courageous and sensible government"

.Barnsley West and Penistone MP Michael Clapham urged the committee to tighten up the rules on MPs having second jobs, saying the register of interests is "too vague"

.Sheffield Hallam MP Nick Clegg said MPs should no longer be allowed to own homes subsidised by the taxpayer and should have second home claims restricted to rental agreements, hotel costs, utility bills and council tax.

Rother Valley MP Kevin Barron said the issue of MPs' pay was a "major problem", adding: "I agree it would be possible, but I suspect impractical, to increase the level of basic pay to form part of simplifying current arrangements."

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