EdinburghSucks.com will be following with interest over the next few years how much the Scottish Parliament is spending on the publication of MSPs expenses online.
Copies of each receipt submitted by an MSP will be posted online at the Parliament’s website with the first phase of the new system being online by the end of next month.
George Reid, the Presiding Officer, announced his intention to change the system after the resignation of David McLetchie as Tory leader in a row over taxi bills last year.
But since then, Brian Monteith, a former Tory MSP, has had to pay back Â£250 in taxi bills which he claimed wrongly and, as The Scotsman revealed yesterday, Alex Salmond was able to claim Â£8,500 in taxi fares to commute from his Linlithgow home to the Scottish Parliament on a regular basis.
Mr Salmond did not break any rules by commuting by taxi, which led to demands for a thorough overhaul of the expenses system by business leaders who warned that the public would not tolerate such a lax system for MSPs, which no-one else in Scotland could enjoy.
All these affairs, as well as the unjustified mileage claims put in by Keith Raffan, the former Liberal Democrat MSP – who claimed he was driving round his constituency when he was out of the country – have eroded public confidence in the existing system of MSP expenses.
What will be interesting is to see the cost of building the system and the continual maintenance this type of system will require.Â Giving the constant upping of estimates for Parliamentary and Council IT systems this may well be mentioned a lot in the future. It looks like time for a FOI request.
What is frightening is that instead of firing these people for lying and allowing a law-abiding person to take their place, we as taxpayers, just have to shell out more money.Â Is this what they mean about the ‘price of democracy’?
More Info: MSPs’ expenses to be posted online