Despite the mammoth amounts of unjustified money which our MPs claim for expenses, they still appear to be rank amateurs compared to MEPs:
“There are no guidelines regulating how much an assistant should be paid, and many MEPs use this allowance to pay members of their own family. The amount is so generous that an MEP can slip his or her spouse or offspring Â£50,000 to Â£60,000 a year and still have enough loose change to employ more than one full-time secretary and a few researchers…
MEPs can also claim a subsistence allowance of Â£257 a day, tax free, for every one of the 40 or so weeks of European parliamentary sessions without having to provide receipts. There is no requirement to attend a debate or committee session. On Fridays at 7am there is usually a queue of MEPs with their luggage waiting to sign in to get their allowance before rushing off to the airport or station.”
Of course most of these expenses claims are perfectly legal. But then that is the problem. It is legalised theft. The same problem exists in our Parliament, where people such as Jacqui Smith and Ed Balls ensure the rules are on their side before appropriating to themselves funds which have been raised by taxing the low paid, or by cutting spending on domestic violence refuge centres. The link between the European and British Parliament is one of contempt; namely, for the people who elected them and pay their wages.
Imagine if a waiter took your order, then decided to give you what he thought was best, then ate part of your food before giving it to you, then charged you more than it said on the bill (while lecturing you on how to behave and threatened you with arrest if you act like him). That is how governments operate. There is very little we can do to stop this legitimised looting of our money, especially in Europe. MEPs and MPs will continue to behave like criminals because we allow them to do so.
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Filed in: Current affairs,Economics