Some Are More Equal Than Others – Green Response to Allowances Review

Responding to today’s review of MSPs’ parliamentary allowances, theGreen MSPs identified significant problems with Sir Alan Langlands’proposals, and called for an urgent meeting with the PresidingOfficer. The Greens are the only party not currently represented onthe SPCB, which commissioned the report. (1)The Greens welcome the end of taxpayers’ support for MSPs’ mortgages,but point out that other cost-saving opportunities were missed in thisarea. Furthermore, the proposals to set a lower value for the work ofregional MSPs and their staff should be rejected, Greens argue, asbeing divisive and anti-democratic. Finally, if apparently innocuousproposals to divide allowances into arbitrary subsections areaccepted, Members will have fewer options to cut costs, and will alsobe likely to have to let hard-working staff go.Patrick Harvie MSP said:”The proposal to end MSPs’ ability to make personal profit from theaccommodation allowance is the right move, and will be welcomed. Butthe rest of the report contains very bad news for MSPs who actuallywant to reduce their costs. Members who currently have to use hotelswhen they stay in Edinburgh should be able to save money by renting aroom, but this will still not be allowed. “Furthermore, the Green MSPs have, like Members from other parties,made efforts to save office costs in order to pay our staff a decentsalary. If this report is accepted we will be prevented from doing so- separate caps on staffing and office costs mean that the incentiveto cut costs will simply disappear, and we will be faced with a choicebetween underpaying staff or overworking them.”The decision to pay staff of constituency Members substantially morethan their regional counterparts is particularly insulting. Staffworking for regional Members cover a far wider area, but this reviewseems to suggest that they are “worth”

Contact: James Mackenzie
Phone: 7909933074
Email: james.mackenzie@scottish.parliament.uk