Monday, 21 December 2009

'Hungry' Tom Levitt and the MPs trough

One of the more interesting aspects of the Additional Cost Allowance claim documents released the other week is some of the correspondence between Tom Levitt and the Fees office.

On page 27 of the PDF, Levitt asks for guidance from the Fees Office in relation to his claims for food. Levitt states that for the year 2006-2007, he used a formula he has devised himself of claiming £18 for each day the House of Commons was in session. However, Levitt has convinced himself that this is insufficient, and raised in to £25 per 'sitting day' from April of 2008. Noting that £30 per day has been 'mentioned', he is arguably keen to find out if he can claim even more.

In any case, Levitt claimed £3750 for food in the year 2008-2009. This equates to £72 per week over 52 weeks of the year, or £10 each day (never mind 'sitting days').

But what makes Levitt's figures even more scandalous is the fact that the Houses of Parliament has numerous cafes, bars and restaurants that are already subsidised by the taxpayer. In February 2008, the Daily Mail reported that MPs "can enjoy three-course meals plus coffee for as little as £10.55", with this subsidy amounting to £13,041 each day. Yes, you read that right: MPs can claim expenses to pay for their meals which are already subsidised by us in order to keep the cost down.

Pigs with their snouts in the trough indeed...

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