The House of Commons has published a list of 220 former MPs who received payments after the General Election. But they haven’t told us how much each individual has received.
Resettlement grants, also called “golden goodbyes”, were paid out under the old expenses system in addition to parliamentary pensions and winding up payments given to MPs. They are effectively the equivalent of redundancy payments for MPs who either stood down or failed to secure re-election.
Departing MPs usually get a grant of between 50% and 100% of their salary, depending on their age and length of service. Those aged between 55 and 64 who have served 15 or more years as an MP, were entitled to a full year’s salary.
That’s a maximum payment of £64,766 – and like redundancy payments the first £30,000 is tax free.
A spokeswoman for the House of Commons Commission – a committee of six MPs chaired by Speaker John Bercow – said that the details had been published in response to a Freedom of Information request, which asked for the names, and that the amounts received could be worked out.
Heather Brooke, whose Freedom of Information campaign helped bring MPs’ expenses claims to light, told the BBC that it was, ‘a kind of subtle form of secrecy’ and asked, ‘If they know it, why don’t they just publish it? They are paid by the public, so why don’t they just give the public that information?’
Seems like a very good question to me.
Surely voters are entitled to know exactly how much public money was paid out to former MPs? The amounts should be a matter of public record – and not something that can be calculated if you have the time and inclination.
Have the House of Commons authorities not learned that the public now demands transparency when it comes to the financial affairs of those paid from the public purse?