An expenses overhaul aimed at restoring public confidence recommended that MPs be banned from claiming for furniture, televisions and other household items on the co-called John Lewis list. Claims for new kitchens, bathrooms and other renovations would also be banned.
But a report from the House of Commons members estimates committee (MEC) suggests that MPs should be allowed to claim up to £19,600 a year for the cost of living away from home. This tax-free allowance would cover items such as rent, mortgage interest payments, hotel bills and running costs such as utility bills, council tax and repairs. Receipts would be needed for all claims "however small" from 2009-10.
It would replace the existing system where MPs can claim a second homes allowance of up to £23,000 a year, with receipts needed for claims over £25.
In addition, MPs would be able to claim a flat-rate of £30 a day without receipts, up to a maximum of £4,200 a year, for food, taxis and incidental expenses.
So the existing allowance of up to £23,000 will be replaced by a cost of living allowance of up to £19,600 plus a subsistence allowance of up to £4,200, which totals up to £23,800. And this is supposed to restore public confidence?