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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 March 2007, 23:27 GMT 00:27 UK
Reid calls for expenses overhaul
George Reid

Holyrood's presiding officer has called on MSPs to take a "radical look" at their expenses system.

Some MSPs have been criticised for making money by buying and selling properties part-funded by the taxpayer.

The allowance scheme has also drawn criticism for allowing members to make claims for council tax and TV licences.

George Reid, who is about to retire from parliament, has left incoming MSPs various options to consider, including a "complete rewrite" of the rules.

Mr Reid said the new Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB), a group of MSPs who help run the parliament, should review the system after the May elections.

I think personally we need a fairly radical look at the whole structure of allowance
George Reid MSP

He said: "It was taken lock, stock and barrel, as it almost had to be, from Westminster in the early days.

"But I think our successors to the corporate body will give very due thought to perhaps an external evaluation of the whole of the allowance system."

The former Nationalist MSP said it would be up to the new corporate body to decide whether to make a few minor adjustments or look at a complete rewrite.

He added: "I think personally we need a fairly radical look at the whole structure of allowance."

However, he said the Scottish Parliament already operated "one of the world's most transparent systems" which compared well with the Westminster way.

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