Last Updated: 05 August 2011
Created: 05 August 2011
I made a promise at the last election that I would do my bit towards rebuilding public trust in politics and politicians, which was so damaged during the last Parliament. Since then, I’ve done a lot to deliver on that promise. I have sold my business, allowing me to focus solely on my role as the Member of Parliament. I have become the first Swindon MP to rank in the highest category for Parliamentary speaking, voting and questions. I publish details of all my meetings, events and visits.
And now, with the publication of our first annual expenses, I am pleased to report that my ‘running costs’ are roughly half those of the former MPs, effectively saving taxpayers £70,000 in a typical year. Items for which I never make an expenses claim, unlike many other MPs, include: mobile phone bills, food, travel in Swindon and London, political newsletters and websites, home internet and TV services, TV licence, Council Tax, and, of course, my home mortgage payments.
To save even more money: I don’t travel 1st class, which would cost £120, but instead buy a super saver return at £39; I share an office and staff with Robert Buckland MP which we have equipped with second-hand furniture; when I have to stay in London I share accommodation with two other MPs, saving £5,000 per year; and I deliberately under-spend on my staff budget by doing as much as I can myself. I’ll continue to be as cost-effective as possible, and keep my election promise.
On another matter, this week’s latest growth figures of only 0.2% show how difficult it was always going to be to recover from the deepest recession in living memory. Like all countries around the world our economy has been hit by rising oil and commodity prices. The positive news is that the British economy is continuing to grow and is creating jobs, with over half a million new private sector jobs in the past year. Robert Buckland MP and I continue to meet with local businesses and are determined to support and champion them as they are so essential to our recovery.
And it is positive news too that at a time of real international instability, Britain is a safe haven in the storm because of the difficult decisions that this Government has taken to tackle our debts. While market interest rates for countries like Spain and Italy have been rising, UK rates have been falling, even though we have a larger budget deficit. Our economy is stable at this time because this Government has taken the difficult decisions to get to grips with Britain's debts. Abandoning that now, as some argue we should, would only risk British jobs and economic growth.