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Why do MPs receive tax-free expenses?

As the revelations regarding MPs expenses continue to crawl out of the woodwork one issue which has received little coverage in the press is the fact that not only are MPs allowed to claim expenses for a growing number of services and products but these expenses are actually tax-free. When you consider that even the worst paid MP is on more than £50,000 a year with Cabinet ministers in excess of £100,000 a year these tax-free expenses all add up.

The reason why these expenses are tax-free is because MPs voted upon the subject some years ago and the status quo has remained to this day. Even amongst all of the scandal and intrigue regarding the UK Parliamentary system, so far there has been no suggestion that future MPs expenses will be taxed even though major changes seem to be afoot. With one particular MP in Scotland said to have claimed in excess of £1 million in expenses during this time in Parliament, with no suggestion of any wrongdoing, the situation gets worse and worse.

There are many issues which need to be taken out of the House of Commons including salaries, pensions and expenses but whether MPs will be willing to give these up in the longer term remains to be seen.

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