It needs some spending up front, but we’ll be better off for years to come.
1. Buy accomodation for MPs in London. They need a small flat each, somewhere to stay overnight when there’s a late sitting at the House or they need to be in town. One big block, or a converted housing estate, ideally on the Westminster Line to get them to work easily. Add a canteen, so that – when they’re working really hard – food’s available. So – no London housing costs, no food expenses allowed. Where they choose to live in their cosntituency is their business, and they can pay for it themselves – just like every other hardworking person.
2. They need an office – well, they already have one in London. Give them all the same stationery – no expenses allowed for that stuff. Bulk buying paper, laptops, pens and everything else that’s needed will ensure a good price, too.
3. And buy a shop in the High Street in every constituency. This is used by the sitting MP, regardless of party, as their office and it gives them a public face. No need for them to find and rent their own office, or to pay rent from the public purse to their own constituency party for the use of their buildings. Again, that office gets a set amount of equipment and a set amount of stationery – no extra allowances there.
4. The big one is staff, of course. So all MPs get two, somebody to man their constituency office, someone to act as their London assistant. These are proper jobs, paid the Living Wage, but no more. And they’re all appointed through one central government office – not given to family members or old friends.
This not only ends the expenses scandal – it puts all MPs on a level, with equal resources to do their jobs. If they want extra – they have to work to find the resources themselves.