Expenses were rubber stamped
Posted by Jamie at 9 19 PM on Saturday, October 17
THOUSANDS of dodgy expenses claims by MPs were rubber-stamped with no questions asked.
We can reveal House of Commons staff waved through more than 90 per cent of claims without even the most basic checks to ensure they were genuine.
MPs submitted envelopes stuffed with dubious claims for phantom mortgages, duck houses and moat clearing.
But a Freedom of Information request has revealed hardly any claims were questioned.
The Department of Resources admitted that in 2006-07 just seven per cent of claims were queried. In 2007-08 it was a paltry five per cent and in 2008-09, eight per cent.
When staff did bother to query claims they were simply making sure expenses were submitted in the correct way rather than justified.
Mark Wallace of the Taxpayers’ Alliance said:“MPs should not have made dodgy claims in the first place. But staff should be scrutinising them to stop them getting away with it. Taxpayers have been severely let down by officials thinking their job was to hand out their money rather than protect it.”
Our revelation will increase the pressure for senior staff at the Department of Resources to be punished for their role in the scandal.
The annual cost of processing MPs’ claims is around £1.2 million.
In his response to our questions, Bob Castle, the Head of Information Rights and Information Security at the Commons’ Resources Department, said: “This system records claims which are queried for any reasons. But this could simply be a junior member of staff referring to a manager for clarification.”
Hundreds of MPs are being told to repay claims.
MPs will be allowed to keep massive profits made from selling off their taxpayer-funded second homes under new rules backed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.