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UK Politics

One in five MPs still say receipts not necessary

Nearly a fifth of MPs do not believe they should have to provide receipts to back up expenses claims, according to a survey. And 23 per cent argue that no major changes were needed to the old Westminster allowances system – despite evidence of widespread abuse.

The findings came in a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) into the first year of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa).

The NAO said that overall Ipsa had established itself well on a tight timetable since the general election, and had increased public confidence following the scandal that broke in 2009.

But it questioned assertions about how much money the new arrangements had saved the taxpayer, and said the Commons watchdog's offices appeared too large. The average bill for dealing with an MP's expenses was £5,900 last year, and the cost of processing each individual claim was equivalent to 38 per cent of the value.

The survey of MPs carried out by the auditors also highlighted dissatisfaction with the new system.

Half responded to letters in May and June this year, with some 91 per cent complaining that they had to subsidise constituency work, and 90 per cent saying they were not claiming everything they were entitled to.

A return to self-regulation was favoured by 23 per cent, against 53 per cent who argued that it was best done independently.