IPSA, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority was set up after the expenses scandal in the last Parliament, and was tasked to do three things:
1) Sort out the mess which was MP’s expenses
2) Take away MP’s ability to set and review their own pay
3) Review MP’s pensions.
To say this organisation has ‘lost the plot’ is an understatement! Firstly, they replace expenses with budgets - for running offices, staffing and accommodation in London. The only thing that we have expenses for is travel which is (quite rightly) capped. So far so good until we hit the problem of ‘budgets’ continuing to be called ‘expenses’ so that public perception is still that MPs take huge personal expenses. Not good! Their latest proposals in reforming MP’s pay, at a time where most people have been on a pay freeze for many years, is to increase salaries by a whopping £7,500 per annum! The overall package for MP’s including pension reforms is actually a reduction, however in true IPSA style they just do not understand what’s acceptable for the mood of the country.
In my view IPSA isn’t fit for purpose based on the above alone, but unquestionably so when added to the fact they cost the tax payer £6.4 million compared with the previous scheme’s £2million.