MPs swap 'John Lewis list' for 'Ikea list'

MPs finally agreed to ditch the controversial "John Lewis list" today - but still clung to the right to kit out their second homes at the taxpayers' expense.

The latest drive to reform MPs' allowances descended into recriminations after Gordon Brown blocked an attempt to end all expenses claims for household goods and furniture.

Instead, MPs will now only be able to claim £2,400 a year for such items - 10% of their total £24,000 second homes allowance.

The Commons also agreed to scrap the "John Lewis list" - which details how much MPs can claim for an array of goods based on prices at the up-market department store.

But the Tories, who had called for an end to any furniture claims under the Additional Costs Allowance (ACA), insisted the new cap did not go far enough.

Shadow leader of the House Theresa May accused the Government of replacing the "John Lewis list" with an "Ikea list".

The package accepted unanimously by the Commons today will also introduce an element of independent scrutiny of MPs' expenses, although well short of what was recommended by a recent review.

The National Audit Office (NAO) will oversee the procedures for new internal checks on expenses claims and approve new rules governing the allowances.

The Members' Estimate Committee, which conducted a "root and branch" review of expenses earlier this year, had called for the NAO to scrutinise claims itself.

Today's vote was an attempt by MPs to make amends after their rejection of reforms of their expenses earlier this month sparked public uproar.

But they were nevertheless described as "half-hearted" by the TaxPayers' Alliance.

Chief executive Matthew Elliott said: "Taxpayers are fundamentally unhappy with MPs spending our money on furniture and TVs, and while a £2,400 limit is an improvement, it is still £2,400 too much.

"The NAO audit is yet another unsatisfactory compromise. We urgently need proper transparency and accountability, which means all receipts must be submitted and published in full."

The Tories brought the issue back to the Commons in the form of an Opposition Day debate, although the Government insisted it had been working on proposals for weeks.

All parties backed the abolition of the "John Lewis list" - the now-notorious table of furniture and home improvement claims available to MPs, based on prices at the department store.

They include £10,000 for a kitchen, £6,000 for a bathroom, plasma televisions and other electricals, furniture and any white goods.

But a Tory bid to end ACA claims for anything but utility bills, council tax and mortgage interest or rent was defeated by 295 to 238 after Labour opposed it.

The Government, led by the Prime Minister, instead proposed that claims for household goods out of the £24,000 ACA be capped at 10%.

Mr Brown was left embarrassed earlier this month when the Commons threw out reforms of the second homes allowance.

The vast majority of the MPs who rejected the shake-up then were Labour, including 34 ministers, among them Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and Culture Secretary Andy Burnham.

Ms May said: "The Government is treating people like fools; they are just replacing the John Lewis list with the Ikea list.

"MPs should not be able to buy their TVs and furniture at the taxpayer's expense. When will this Labour Government get the message?"

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Voices
'Irritatingly Disneyfied': fashion vlogger Zoella
voicesVicky Chandler: Zoella shows us that feminism can come in all forms
Life and Style
health
Arts and Entertainment
Pink Floyd on stage at Live 8 in 2005. From left to right: David Gilmour, Roger Waters, Nick Mason and Rick Wright
music New album The Endless River set to overtake boyband for most pre-ordered of all-time
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama