MPs hope for relaxed expenses rules

By staff

Parliament’s expenses watchdog is set to loosen up the allowances regime later this week, according to a report.

MPs living within commuting distance will be allowed to purchase taxpayer-funded second homes in the capital to avoid regular late-night return journeys home, the Telegraph newspaper reported.

Credit cards funded from the public purse will be introduced and lump sum payments are also expected to be provided each month.

The changes, expected to be announced on Friday, will represent a major retreat for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), which had sought to clamp down hard on the expenses regime in the light of the allowances scandal.

A consultation begun earlier this year has now completed and Ipsa is “analysing the responses and evidence submitted”.

Backbench MPs have repeatedly expressed frustration with the system. A fear of submitting claims has even led some to go into debt.

Later today the Commons will vote on a proposal to freeze their pay for the next year. Some backbenchers are expected to vote against the proposal.

That could trigger renewed public anger about alleged money-grabbing politicians, in a climate where MPs’ remuneration and expenses remains highly sensitive.

Information published last month revealed there were 248 claims submitted in September and October 2010 which were not reimbursed, or not reimbursed in full.