Houses for Members of the House…
Interesting piece on The Specatator’s Coffee House blog; it looks at a report from the Taxpayers Alliance which looks into the question of MP’s being given publicly owned accommodation. The benefits of this are quite obvious and I have seen no compelling argument against it; security would be improved by the concentration of MP’s in one place and privacy infringement would be no more than that for any other person who lives in shared accommodation. Assuming you live with sensible, mature people they can usually work to the un-written rule that your room is your own private space. In any case, I find it rather offensive to suggest that MP’s should benefit from extra privacy protection.
Of course, proper provision would have to be made for families but I don’t see that as being particularly problematic; again it is no more so than would be in any other shared situation. Altogether this seems to be a sensible solution to a tricky problem though the blog itself mentions one good reason why this probably won’t be the solution we end-up with;
“We’re in a recession, and money is tight. There is no public appetite to spend a fortune on buying swanky new accommodation for errant MPs, many of whom have already spent a large proportion of their time fleecing taxpayers.”
The report actually proposes that MP’s be housed in the Olympic Village that is being built for the 2012 Olympics which rather begs the question what they are supposed to do for the duration of the Games themselves and therefore that doesn’t strike me as the most practicable suggestion. However, as I have consistently said there has to be some give and take from the public and with the dust seeming to settle a little on the expenses furore maybe now is the time for this solution to be seriously debated.