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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 June, 2005, 15:04 GMT 16:04 UK
Charity condemns MSPs' expenses
MSPs in chamber
Details of MSP expense claims are published every year
A charity has said it is wrong that MSPs can claim expenses for council tax and TV licences when 100,000 Scottish pensioners live in poverty.

Lindsay Scott, of Help the Aged, said MSPs should give the elderly concessions before helping themselves.

MSPs can claim an annual allowance of 10,600 or overnight rates of 103.50 if they need to stay in Edinburgh.

A Scottish Parliament spokesman said the current allowance scheme was approved in 2001.

The costs allowed to be claimed under the allowance include council tax, factoring charges, utilities, building and contents insurance and a TV licence.

MSPs are very quick to sort things for themselves
Lindsay Scott
Help the Aged

Mr Scott conceded that the parliament did not have the powers to change the current "poor" state pension.

However, he said MSPs could find other ways to provide relief for pensioners.

He explained: "The problem is that the system moves at a slow pace, but MSPs are very quick to sort things for themselves.

"It seems like there is one law for them and another for everybody else. I think they should step back and take a look at themselves."

A Scottish Parliament spokesman said: "The Edinburgh accommodation allowance reimburses a member for expenses necessarily incurred in staying overnight in Edinburgh for the purpose of performing his or her parliamentary duties.

"The allowances scheme was approved by resolution of parliament in 2001 and each year the parliament publishes detailed information on all members' allowances and expenditure."


SEE ALSO:
MSP expenses hit a total of 8m
22 Dec 04 |  Scotland
MSPs' expenses revealed
04 Dec 03 |  Scotland


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