16 May 2009

Is the MPs' expenses scandal a hidden legacy of Thatcherism?

In last Thursday's Question Time on BBC1, Margaret Beckett claimed that the existing system of parliamentary expenses was brought in under the Thatcher government in 1983, after a recommendations on a salary increase for MPs by an independent body had been deferred and staggered for 8 years – at which point the additional allowances were brought in ‘in stead of the pay increase’ (see below).

If this is true, it suggests that MPs were explicitly encouraged to subscribe to the culture of greed that Thatcherism is so often accused of having fermented during the 1980s, and it will be interested to wee whether this is confirmed in any forthcoming investigations of the system.


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