Yesterday we debated the msierable and foolish Bill the government has brought in to change the way MPs allowances are paid and to regulate MPs financial conduct.
The centre piece of the Bill is the establishment of a new quango to design and administer the expenses and allowances system – the very same system Kelly has been asked to redesign as well. We were told the rushed Bill can always be amended later in the year if Kelly disagrees!
I asked what consultations the government has held with the Fees office staff who currently do this work. No answer.
I asked if staff in the present Fees office will be automatically transferred to the new quango (under TUPE). No answer.
I asked if staff will lose their jobs and have to compete for new jobs at the new quango. No answer.
I asked how much extra the new quango would cost compared with the current arrangements. I was told it would cost the same. I find that difficult to understand, given the costs of set up and the likely high salaries that will be offered to the Heads of the new body.
We need a less generous system of allowances. I suspect we now have one, after the changes made in recent weeks. It just needs summarising and approving.
We need tighter administation of the new system. That can be delivered by clear instructions from Parliament to a suitable senior employee, who should be responsible for systems that ensure proper approval and documentation of claims.
None of this requires an elaborate new structure. A good employer embarking on such an upheaval would consult with the exisiting staff first, hear their views, and would seek to minimise disruption and redundancy cost.
This bull in a china shop approach is likely to produce more problems, not less. This government has been keen to pass lots of labour laws for the private sector. Don’t any of the rules apply to them as employers?