Watchdog: 70 politicians agree to repay house profits
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) has announced 70 politicians have agreed to repay profits from taxpayer-funded homes.
The sums range from a few hundred pounds in some cases to the £81,446 paid by the Welsh Secretary David Jones and the £61,403 returned by DUP East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell - both for properties in London.
Conservative MP Stewart Jackson has said he is resisting legal action from Ipsa to recover the sums it says he owes, and is mounting his own legal challenge to the watchdog's claim his family home increased in value by 20% at a time when he says house prices in the area were falling.
"Ipsa's legal proceedings are heavy-handed and disproportionate and are clearly intended to bully me into submission.
"The essence of the dispute is my challenge of the valuations of 2010 and 2012.
"Ipsa are seeking a cash sum on a so-called capital gain 'profit' on my family home, in which I live and have not sold.
"The money which Ipsa is demanding retrospectively is more than the total amount I received when I was claiming mortgage interest and the property is now valued at less than we purchased it for in 2005.
"At my own expense, I have paid for an accurate recent expert valuation and I have made a reasonable offer to Ipsa to settle the matter and reduce the legal costs which will have to be met by the taxpayer."
Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson to be sued by expenses watchdog
Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson is being sued by the parliamentary watchdog for not paying back £54,000, which they say he owes. Now the IPSA has issued High Court proceedings.
It calculated that Mr Jackson owes the capital gains on his 2nd home between 2010 and 2012. In a statement, the MP says the legal proceedings are heavy handed and disproportionate and that the property is now worth less than when he bought it.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority chair Sir Ian Kennedy said it was essential to scale the present £13.6 million a year pension scheme for MPs, which was "expensive to the taxpayer and out of kilter with the modern idea of where public sector pensions should be".
That could put an end to a final-salary system that allows MPs to build up a £30,000 pension after 20 years and increasing the age at which it can be claimed after 65.
Ipsa's research indicates that the current salary level is low when compared with other developed countries' legislators - and with lawyers, headteachers and local council chief executives.
Lower pay for "part time" MPs who do other jobs, is just one of the proposals being considered by a review of Westminster pay and pensions to be presented to the public by a watchdog on Monday.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) is doing a consultation on various options over how much national politicians should be paid and whether gold-plated pension arrangements should be stopped.
But its chairman Sir Ian Kennedy warned MPs who want more pay that they were not doing much at the moment to show voters what they were doing to justify their taxpayer-funded remuneration deals.