Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MPs' Late-Night Habits Cost the Taxpayer Dear

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MPs' Late-Night Habits Cost the Taxpayer Dear

Article excerpt

FRESH revelations of parliamentary expenses, only days after news that [pounds sterling]400,000 of taxpayers' money was spent renting a dozen fig trees to shade the courtyard of MPs' offices at Portcullis House.

Freedom of Information requests reveal [pounds sterling]312,500 was spent on late-night taxis and transport expenses for House of Commons staff between January and November 2011. MPs sat until past 8pm on 75 nights, racking up an average of [pounds sterling]4,166.67 each time in taxi, train and bus fares to ferry staff home.

Labour member for Lewisham Deptford Joan Ruddock says the sum is yet another reason to end late sittings, and is campaigning for change after family-friendly measures brought in by Robin Cook in 2002 were reversed three years later.

"We need to work the same number of hours, but finish earlier," says Ruddock. "That is the solution to a raft of issues affecting MPs and staff. It would be better for everybody's health, would benefit efficiency and would be welcomed by those with families. …

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