Expense list embarrasses UK politicians

Christopher Werth May 12, 2009
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Expense list embarrasses UK politicians

Christopher Werth May 12, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: And British lawmakers have been a bit embarrassed in the last few days. A list of yearly expenses that members of both parties claimed for reimbursement was leaked to Britain’s Daily Telegraph. You’re probably not surprised to learn that it included receipts for some questionable items. Christopher Werth has more.


CHRISTOPHER WERTH: All those receipts add up to a spending spree worth tens of thousands of dollars for almost every member of parliament. It includes politicians who’ve written off groceries, refurnished their homes, and repaired tennis courts. Even dog food made it onto the list. Some allowances were also used to play the housing market.

Taxpayers are unhappy to be footing the bill for outlandish expenses, not least in a recession. Over the weekend conservative opposition leader, David Cameron, tried to apologize for the allowance system.

DAVID CAMERON: Look this system that we had, that we used, that we operated, that we took part in. It was wrong, and we’re sorry about that.

Cameron has hinted at resignations, and party leaders are calling for reform. Members of Parliament are paid just under $100,000 dollars, much smaller than the $169,000 a U.S. senator makes. Writing off things like dog food was away to bump up their own salaries, and members thought those receipts never see the light of day.

In London, this is Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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