We have long had our concerns about whether IPSA – the quango charged with setting and administering MPs’ pay, pensions and office costs – is delivering value for taxpayers’ money.
And when it comes to buying the equipment that MPs need in order to run their offices, their procurement processes are increasingly being laid bare as delivering an appallingly bad deal for those of us footing the bills.
Luke Hall, MP for Thornbury and Yate, was previously criticised for spending almost £600 on printer ink in just two months through Parliament’s official supply system. Realising that this was clearly a lot of taxpayers’ money, he looked for a third party supplier and has brought costs down to just £145.
More than that, Mr Hall has also revealed that when setting up his office after winning his seat last year, the Commons’ supplier offered his staff laptops for a hefty £950 apiece. Instead, he went to a high street supplier and bought the same machines for just £300.
We as taxpayers therefore have every right to ask why the official suppliers’ prices are so much more than those on the high street. They may offer certain additional IT support functions, but charging triple the price seems totally egregious.
Those in charge of IPSA’s parliamentary expenses system are badly letting down taxpayers. In order to win the public’s trust, this monster of a quango must get a better grip on its procurement practices.
Mr Hall has demonstrated that better value for money is easy to achieve and urgent action is required on IPSA’s part in order to put an end to its wasteful habits.