There were some amazing comments made in the Commons yesterday by Kevan Jones MP, who seems to have sunk so deep into the Westminster bubble that he has utterly forgotten what life is actually like in the real world.
Amazingly, the focus of Mr Jones' ire is the fact that - brace yourselves - MPs have to pay tax on the cash benefits of the £4,000 loans being given to them by IPSA to cover the set-up costs of second homes and so on. Not only that but - and this really seems to have got him going - he won't be able to claim back the tax bill back on expenses!
Here are his comments from the Finance Bill debate:
"But what I can't understand is why, on the deposits we
are going to be given for the rental of our second homes in London, it
is taxable. I don't understand whether it's a mistake or why that's been
excluded.Because at the end of the day I'm sure that if we present the
tax bill to Ipsa they will not pay that tax allowance."
Every business owner and worker in Britain knows full well that if they get a benefit in kind from work - and few get benefits as generous as MPs - then you will be made to pay tax on it. It was, of course, MPs like Kevan Jones who introduced this rule and have confirmed it by voting through annual Budgets.
Looking at Mr Jones' frustration at this tax, it strike me that this is precisely why MPs should have to face all the excessive screeds of taxation and regulation that afflict ordinary people and businesses in the real world. Unless they have to endure the same pain that their policies put the rest of us through, they will simply carry on passing such laws and raising such taxes with impunity.
Outrageously, Kevan Jones thinks the best way to solve the problem is to exempt MPs from the taxes they expect everyone else to pay. This is wrong, wrong, wrong - MPs must be the equals of the people in terms of the law and taxation of the land. If he thinks it's unfair for him to be taxed like this, then he should campaign to repeal the tax for everyone. Why should he be exempted from something which his constituents have to obey?
Welcome to overtaxed Britain, Mr Jones. You obviously don't like it, but I've got a message for you: nor does anyone else. If you believed in fairness and doing the right thing, you'd want to set that right for all of your constituents - not just for yourself.