New MPs’ allowance proposals flawed

Jo spoke against the motion for a new MPs ‘communications allowance’ in Parliament today

Jo Swinson has spoken out against proposals to introduce a new allowance to Members of Parliament which could cost up to £6.4m.

MPs today debated proposals to introduce a ‘communications allowance’, which would make funds available for them to spend on all forms of communication with constituents including websites and unsolicited mailing.

Commenting after the debate, Jo said:

“I do not see how the spending of an additional £6m of taxpayers’ money on a communications allowance for MPs can be justified, given that we are already provided with the means to communicate with constituents by existing Parliamentary allowances.

“Headlines bemoaning the cost of maintaining Members of Parliament in office, however misleading, erode the public’s trust in politicians and the political system, while the adoption of a communications allowance would give a significant incumbency advantage to sitting MPs at election time. Neither of these things benefit the health of our democracy.

“As MPs we should consider carefully our responsibility to the taxpayer when making alterations to the allowances system.”

The Communications Allowance motion being debated contains no precise figures for the cost of the proposal, as these would have to be decided by committee at a later date, however the fund is informally proposed at £10,000. Multiplied by the 646 sitting MPs, this brings the potential cost of funding the allowance to approximately £6.4m.

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