Chris Huhne should reject his ministerial severance package

February 07, 2012 9:53 AM

Following his resignation from Cabinet last week, former Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne is now entitled to a ministerial severance package worth £17,207, equivalent to 3 months of his taxpayer-funded £68,827 salary. Such entitlements are least deserved when criminal allegations are charged against Secretaries of State. A spokesmen for the party said Mr Huhne still had yet to decide whether to take the package. The TaxPayers’ Alliance is not the only voice urging him not to.

He now faces a cross-party and public consensus urging him to decline the generous package. In August 2010, he shared a platform with Conservative Party Co-Chairman Baroness Warsi who said (referring to Labour cabinet ministers who were entitled to payout having been voted out), “a time when people across the country are being asked to tighten their belts to deal with Labour's economic mess, it is unacceptable that the very people responsible for the mess are eligible to walk away with up to £20,000 each. Forfeiting this pay would be the first step towards accepting their responsibility, and the first sign they had come to terms with the mistakes of the past.”

As Labour MP Chris Evans said: “If he didn't agree with her, he should have said so - so he should now forfeit the £17,207 he is entitled to.”

Tim Farron, President of the Liberal Democrats said it would be right for him to “take a lead” in these tough times..

I agree that Mr Huhne should show he is sensitive to the economic climate and the circumstances surrounding his resignation by declining his severance package. Particularly at a time when taxpayers can ill afford it.

In the wake of the expenses scandal we revealed that many MPs who had fiddled their expenses were entitled to resettlement grants. These one-off payments are not the same as severance payments but are worth 50-100 per cent of an MP’s annual salary, dependent on their age and length of service. At the time we called for these grants to be abolished entirely as MPs are aware that they take their job on a five-year fixed contract, so there is no reason to hand them these payments. Similarly if an MP or minister, like nine-homes-Huhne leaves office under the cloud of such scandal as this, they should no longer be entitled to golden goodbyes like severance payments at taxpayers’ expense. Huhne should save himself any further embarrassment and forfeit his payoff, regardless of whether or not he is later cleared of these charges.Following his resignation from Cabinet last week, former Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne is now entitled to a ministerial severance package worth £17,207, equivalent to 3 months of his taxpayer-funded £68,827 salary. Such entitlements are least deserved when criminal allegations are charged against Secretaries of State. A spokesmen for the party said Mr Huhne still had yet to decide whether to take the package. The TaxPayers’ Alliance is not the only voice urging him not to.

He now faces a cross-party and public consensus urging him to decline the generous package. In August 2010, he shared a platform with Conservative Party Co-Chairman Baroness Warsi who said (referring to Labour cabinet ministers who were entitled to payout having been voted out), “a time when people across the country are being asked to tighten their belts to deal with Labour's economic mess, it is unacceptable that the very people responsible for the mess are eligible to walk away with up to £20,000 each. Forfeiting this pay would be the first step towards accepting their responsibility, and the first sign they had come to terms with the mistakes of the past.”

As Labour MP Chris Evans said: “If he didn't agree with her, he should have said so - so he should now forfeit the £17,207 he is entitled to.”

Tim Farron, President of the Liberal Democrats said it would be right for him to “take a lead” in these tough times..

I agree that Mr Huhne should show he is sensitive to the economic climate and the circumstances surrounding his resignation by declining his severance package. Particularly at a time when taxpayers can ill afford it.

In the wake of the expenses scandal we revealed that many MPs who had fiddled their expenses were entitled to resettlement grants. These one-off payments are not the same as severance payments but are worth 50-100 per cent of an MP’s annual salary, dependent on their age and length of service. At the time we called for these grants to be abolished entirely as MPs are aware that they take their job on a five-year fixed contract, so there is no reason to hand them these payments. Similarly if an MP or minister, like nine-homes-Huhne leaves office under the cloud of such scandal as this, they should no longer be entitled to golden goodbyes like severance payments at taxpayers’ expense. Huhne should save himself any further embarrassment and forfeit his payoff, regardless of whether or not he is later cleared of these charges.

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