It looks like cash-strapped Stephen Williams MP has come up with a new and imaginative way to squander taxpayers money.
How about paying to publish – in the local glossie for the yoof, Venue – a sartorially challenged picture of yourself hanging about in Clifton looking like yet another overpaid and underworked middle class local? Then, to cover the £500 cost, plonk a contact phone number on it and charge the whole thing to your brand new £10k MP’s communications allowance.
MPs were given this new allowance from April last year “for the purpose of assisting members with expenditure incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in communicating with the public on parliamentary business.”
Quite what Parliamentary business Williams thinks he’s urgently communicating by standing in front of the suspension bridge wearing Harris tweed and announcing “I’m on Youtube kidz” is not immediately obvious to the casual observer. But hey, what do we know?
Further news on Williams’ and his fellow MPs expenses also emerges. On top of the “paltry” £61k salary, the tax free £18k housing allowances and the receipt-free £250 a week cash mountain comes news of heavily subsidised parliamentary refreshments.
Just a week after revelations that the Frenchay and Southmead hospitals were spending just 50p on each patients’ meal, The Blogger’s reminded that hard done by MPs get subsidised meals and drinks at the House of Commons. A massive £5m a year is spent on this, equivalent to a 40% subsidy.
This works out at around £7k a year per MP or enough to buy 14,000 dinners at Frenchay hospital!