"MSPs have been paid more than £1m by the taxpayer to purchase second homes in Edinburgh, it has emerged. BBC Scotland has confirmed that the money was claimed by 38 politicians.
Socialist MSP Tommy Sheridan has called for an official inquiry into what he calls widespread abuse of the Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance.
But a spokesman said the present scheme was approved by the Scottish Parliament in 2001 and that the regulations had been followed in every case.
The allowance enables MSPs who live more than 90 minutes' journey from the Scottish Parliament to have subsidised mortgages for second homes in the capital.
They can claim up to £10,600 per year towards housing expenses."
A nice little number for those concerned. But even if you accept that MSPs from out of town need to have subsidised accommodation in Edinburgh, it is possible to arrange without allowing them to make a killing on property inflation. Most companies and most of the public sector operate a system whereby employees away from home are able to claim the costs of temporary accommodation up to certain limits. Our MSPs have adopted a more generous arrangement for themselves. If there is an abuse, then it lies in the original decision by Parliament to approve it.
It is also worth remembering that Parliament only sits on Wednesdays and Thursdays, with Tuesdays for Committee meetings: accommodation would only be required for 2 or 3 nights a week.