Of the 220 MPs who left at the height of the expenses scandals and when the general election lost them their place, or perhaps they simply retired, not one of them declined the golden goodbye or “resettlement grant” – you know, the money they need to get back to “normal” life after spending time under the rock of Parliamentary privilege – and even those who left because of the scandal took the money and ran.
After a year long battle with the Commons dragging their heels despite Freedom of Information demands for this information, it was just revealed that these ‘grants’ cost the taxpayer a whopping £10million. Grants are given depending on ‘length of service’ and to a maximum of £65,000 – nearly three years salary for the average Joe) if you happen to be lucky enough to have a job.
This money is in addition to a £41,000 “winding up allowance” which they can use to pay off staff and settle office costs – amazing, if you can get it, and they did; all 220 of them. Even the likes of Stephen Byers and Geoff Hoon who were caught up in the cash for access lobbying scandal; Andrew Mackay who registered his wife’s (also an MP) second home as his main address; David Heathcoat-Amory who claimed for 550 sacks of horse manure; even the likes of LibDem’s Julia Goldsworthy who claimed for a £1,200 rocking chair and who now works as an adviser to Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, on a salary of £74,000 per year.
So, 220 MPs got £10million – that’s an average of £45,454 each – is it any wonder the country is bankrupt and that there are plans afoot to deprive those out of work of the £45.00 a week job seekers allowance – talk about inequity.