Earlier this week, the government published the details of expenses claimed by Members of Parliament.
Plenty has been talked about during the past few months in relation to MPsâ€™ expenses, not the least of which has been the ongoing scoop by The Daily Telegraph in exposing some truly extraordinary behaviours by our elected representatives (the latest chapter of which published today concerns â€œerrorsâ€ by over 50 MPs in allegedly over-claiming council tax).
So I was glancing through the receipts for expenses claimed by John Redwood, the Member of Parliament for my constituency (Wokingham) now that theyâ€™re online. Well, some of them, many with huge chunks blacked out (click the small image above to see the complete one and youâ€™ll see what I mean).
Much of it is mundane, the kind of thing youâ€™d expect to see in business, too, relating to the day-to-day incidentals in running your business. Stationary costs, staff expenses, mobile phone bills, that sort of thing.
One in particular caught my eye â€“ newspapers. One of the receipts (the image snip above) is for the cost of newspapers delivered to the MPâ€™s office in a certain period last year. The claim amounts to Â£91.50.
Why not cancel all of that and get your newspaper content online, Mr Redwood? Assuming you subscribe to all those papers fro research purposes, your researchers will find it a great deal more effective to have access to digital content rather than the stuff of dead trees.
And itâ€™s very much in keeping with some of the ideas for Digital Britain.
Thatâ€™s what I do. I donâ€™t buy newspapers except on Saturdays when itâ€™s usually the Telegraph and sometimes the Guardian â€“ itâ€™s recreational reading and the supplements keep me going all week.
Â£91.50 is not a huge amount in itself but it adds up when you look at that type of cost every week in a year. Then imagine many of the other 646 MPs with similar claims (a potential cost of Â£3 million in a year).
Giving this up is a small deed. Yet isnâ€™t trust often about small deeds?