MPs To Review IPSA

MPs To Review Loathed Expenses Regime

PRESS ASSOCIATION - MPs will carry out a root and branch review of the laws governing their expenses regime by the end of this year under plans newly approved by the Commons.

The Commons Members' Expenses Committee is set to look into concerns and complaints from MPs over the operation of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa).

The independent watchdog has attracted much criticism since it was set up under the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009 in the wake of the MPs' expenses scandal.

MPs have approved, without a vote, changes to the committee's terms of reference including its title, which previously referred to Members' Allowances. They also approved a motion instructing the committee to report to the House on a review of the Act by December 31.

Deputy Commons leader David Heath said: "The Government is keen that the committee is set up without any more unnecessary delay and gets on with the important work the House has tasked it with."

He insisted the title change would not restrict the ability of the committee to consider the issue of allowances. "The change merely brings the committee's title up to date, reflecting the new system," he said.

The short Commons debate came as a report by the National Audit Office into the first year of Ipsa questioned assertions about how much money it had saved the taxpayer. The average bill for dealing with an MP's expenses was £5,900 last year, and the cost of processing each individual claim was equivalent to 38% of the value.

Peers' allowances claims will be published monthly rather than quarterly from September, chairman of committees Lord Brabazon of Tara said in a written statement.

The final quarterly figures, covering the period January to March 2011, will be published on July 20 with April's data expected in September.

Peers may claim a £300 tax-free allowance for each day they attend the Lords, plus travelling expenses to and from Westminster.


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