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PM takes a swipe at Ipsa

Michael Crick | 17:18 UK time, Wednesday, 23 March 2011

It was interesting to see David Cameron today took another swipe at the MPs' expenses body Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) during Prime Minister's Questions.

The Croydon MP Gavin Barwell had asked him about the idea of moving a few government bodies to Croydon, which is only 15 minutes from central London by train, and rateable values are 60% lower.

A good place to move Ipsa, Mr Cameron joked.

Not good news for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, which looks after MPs' expense claims, and is exceedingly unpopular with members on all sides.

There was an element of Mr Cameron currying favour with his backbenchers, of course. More seriously, the PM warned Ipsa a few months ago that they had until April to put their house in order. April is nearly upon us.

I have also been told that the Commons Public Accounts Committee is considering an enquiry into whether Ipsa gives the taxpayer value for money.

A chance for MPs to torment their perceived tormentors. That would be fun.


  • Comment number 1.

    I'm sure MPs will want to go back and forth to Croydon to process expenses - another daft Cameron idea, along with his idea (early in his leadership, I concede) of upping state funding for political parties...

  • Comment number 2.

    It may come as news to you that due to the invention of the telephone, the fax machine, the Internet and the WWW it is possible to conduct business with practically anyone in the entire world without them being on your doorstep.

    You might be surprised to know that my accountant lives over a hundred miles from me and yet the service he provides is more than adequate. You might even have heard that because the overtaxed UK workforce is no longer internationally competitive UK companies have been able to move their call centres half way round the planet with no apparent difficulty.

    So a move to Croydon I suggest, is driven more by common sense than 'ideological zeal'. I hope my own professional body makes a similar move as soon as possible.

    PS Is 'Too far too fast' the new 'Too deep too quickly'? lol

  • Comment number 3.

    For accuracy, National Rail Enquiries report that it takes 16 mins to get from Victoria Station to East Croydon Station.

    And surely as the body dedicated to keeping MPs expenses down IPSA also has a duty to keep its costs down too and IPSA has a floor in a very nice (well on the inside) office block on Victoria Street. I wont name its exact location but lets say shoud Eric Pickles want to deliver his expenses from his Departmentsl office dring his lunch break then it wouldn't take him more than 5 minutes to get there.

    There is something weird in the IPSA system that because an expense is initially rejected say due to an unclear receipt (that 99% of people would say is Ok but somehow not IPSA) then an MP is named and shamed as somehow fiddling the system yet when the claim is then paid nothing is done to retract the initial rejection.

    There is no need for IPSA to be in Central London, It could be anywhere. And if Croydon has rents cheaper then there are plenty of other places in the country that are cheaper still. Afterall IPSA imposes arbitrary (and low) limits on the office rental for MPs constituency offices so surely what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. And should the board have to travel to the office they can do so standard class, again like they insist MPs travel.

  • Comment number 4.

    "For accuracy, National Rail Enquiries report that it takes 16 mins to get from Victoria Station to East Croydon Station"

    This was not quick enough for ex-Croydon-now-Swansea-MP Geriant Davies who found that he really needed to buy a central London flat on expenses rather than undertake such a taxing commute. Perhaps if they hadn't behaved with such shamelessness IPSA wouldn't exist.

    It actually takes abour 20 minutes in reality and the service is 24hrs.


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