The European Parliament (see photo) in Brussels has re-assembled, and the snouts are back in the troughs. The salary of British MEPs has risen from £63,000 to £80,500, on top of generous pensions, expenses and other payments. MEPs can get expenses and allowances of £363,000 a year, including a £261 daily subsistence allowance for just turning up to sign in. Each MEP costs the European taxpayer £1.8 million a year, compared to £364,000 for each Westminster MP.
|Photo: European Parliament|
They can claim these expenses without producing any receipts. The new rules do not change this. Labour MEP Richard Corbett, when asked why he voted to keep MEPs’ expenses secret, despite sitting on a cross-party group in the European Parliament campaigning for more transparency, said that he could not remember the vote: “I’m not sure what the vote is that you’re referring to.” Corbett defended the practice of signing in for their daily allowance, saying, “That can happen, but at least you have to turn up to claim any allowance.”
The new Europe Minister Glenys Kinnock and her husband former EU Commissioner Neil Kinnock have received up to £8 million of taxpayers’ money in pay and allowances from the EU since 1994. The couple claimed £6 million in staff and salary allowances. The Kinnocks did not dispute the figures.
During their time in Brussels, both Kinnocks claimed a housing allowance on top of their incomes, even though they lived in the same house.
Glenys can expect £67,835 a year from her pension as an MEP, and Neil’s pension as a former Commissioner is worth more than £80,000 a year. These pensions would cost an ordinary taxpayer £4.4 million to buy in cash.