Saturday, 9 May 2009

You Don't Always Have To Claim Expenses

When I first worked for the Civil Service over twenty years ago I discovered it was cheaper to live at home and commute daily into London. This required me to buy a combined rail and London Transport season ticket: it accounted for over half my post tax income. The season ticket allowed access on all London zones. As part of my official duties I often had to travel from central London down to Croydon and Chessington. Colleagues living in London bought tickets and reclaimed the cost via T&S forms. I never claimed because I used my season ticket. So I was making official journeys at my own expense. And that was when I budgeted £10 per week for incidentals because that was all I could afford. If I could put the public purse first when I was frankly skint then MPs should do the same.

7 comments:

CherryPie said...

Well said, anyone with a conscience would do the same!

There is a motion against first class travel being raised at our conference. It has proved very controversial, so watch this space.

Gallimaufry said...

Thanks, but the old Northcote-Trevelyan Civil Service imbued that mindset seemingly through osmosis. Now outside consultants are paid large sums to lecture about corporate ethos.
I should explain that my London colleagues had London Transport season tickets that omitted the outer zones required to travel to Croydon etc. I also bought a Young Person's Railcard to get discounts on travel to regional offices. That was before HR departments let contracts to travel agents for centralised ticket booking. Regarding the first class travel, it was always regarded as an Officers and Other Ranks sort of perk to keep us in our place. Having sampled a cooked breakfast on a train once I can't say I miss it much. However, that didn't stop me pointing out to an Agency Director the difference between stretch out in comfort first class and self-loading-cargo standard class. Why do only the higher grades need to arrive at meetings not feeling as if they had been posted?

CherryPie said...

Your thoughts are exactly the reason for the motion at the conference.

I can give you an example recently where I was traveling to London (normal class) and a colleague of mine in the same workplace (NEC member) was traveling to London same day, same train (first class).

The argument is first class is needed for the space so they can work on the journey.

Well OK I can understand that, but the person who was traveling first class at great expense said did you book in advance to get the cheapest rate?

I nearly flipped my lid!!!

Gallimaufry said...

Was that a beverage lid bought with your t&s allowance?
Regarding the hypocrite, (btw Prof. Parkinson identified that expenditure of £10 incurs at least as much examination as £100 fifty years ago) my first line manager asked me to arrange accommodation in Edinburgh after a meeting. He lectured me on the importance of value for money at great length. I checked the train timetables and found I could return home to the midlands early next morning - I would then have 4 hours sleep before catching the London train into work. If that was rough for me, my boss wouldn't speak to me for a week as I had "innocently" booked him into a "hotel" that was apperently one star up from a Salvation Army hostel.

Thud said...

Personal responsibility and self restraint are such alien concepts to our leaders that you may as well be speaking martian to them.

Wolfie said...

Well everyone was so keen to get rid of the old elite and have "men of the people" in the top spots and now they have what they wished for, it’s the Orwellian twist I've been expecting for a long time. Last time I spoke to a senior Politian I came away with an overwhelming sense of their misanthropy that this debacle leaves me with no surprise whatsoever.

Thing is, why is this being wheeled out now when its been going on so long? Because an ever larger fraud is being carried out right now under our noses.

Gallimaufry said...

Don't get me started on the EU budget fraud.
Seriously, I thought that people entered public life as a service for our nation, the honour of being elected as an MP being a reward in itself, rather than to take advantage of taking part in a supermarket sweep/house makeover. Caesar's wife was probably acting "within the rules" but, as I was taught, privilege requires adherence to higher standards of probity.