Monday, May 25, 2009

Liberal Democrat Euro candidates commitment to glasnost

Liberal Democrat MEPs are already the best at revealing their expenses and allowances. More of them, in proportion to their numbers, reveal their claims on their web-sites than any other UK-based party MEPs.

All candidates have now gone one stage further, and made the following commitment:

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT CODE OF CONDUCT FOR MEPs

The Liberal Democrat European Parliamentary Party (LDEPP) is committed to the highest standards of public service.

Each of its Members undertakes to ensure strict observance of the European Parliament’s Rules governing the Payment of Expenses and Allowances to Members (PEAM).1

In addition, they agree to meet a common measure of transparency in order to ensure their accountability to the European Parliament, to the UK Liberal Democrats and to their electors.

This Guidance Note shall be appended to the Standing Orders of LDEPP.

Declaration of Interests

In their official Declarations of Financial Interests, LDEPP Members will declare whether they are members of the Parliament’s Voluntary Pension Scheme.

Members will declare whether they employ as assistants, or pay as service providers or paying agents, members of their family. In such cases, the level of payment shall be shown within bands of € 10,000.

General Expenditure Allowance

As specified under PEAM Article 13, the Allowance is a monthly lump sum intended to meet expenditure resulting from 'activities in their capacity as Members not covered by other allowances'. Inter alia, the Allowance covers the following items:

  • Travel and ancillary expenses within the UK

  • Office management and running costs

  • Purchase or rental of office equipment

  • Telephone and postage

  • Office supplies

  • Purchase of publications

  • Internet

  • IT hardware and software

The allowance may not be used to cover personal expenses or to finance subsidies or gifts of a political nature. It may not be used to contribute towards the Voluntary Pension Scheme.

An annual account shall be made of Members’ use of the Allowance. This account shall be certified by an independent, professionally qualified accountant, who shall have received a copy of this Note and of Parliament’s Rules. The audit statement must demonstrate compliance with the Rules of the Parliament, and will be filed with the delegation's Whip. A summary of the account shall be published on each Member’s website.

Secretarial Assistance Allowance

PEAM Article 14 establishes the rules for the employment or engagement of assistants.

All staff employed by LDEPP Members must have a contract of employment in accordance with the law of a Member State.

The names of assistants and their job titles should be published, with their consent, on each Member’s website.

The names and functions of service providers should be published on Members' websites.

Travel Allowance

Under PEAM Article 10, Members are entitled to an allowance to meet expenses incurred in connection with travel (outside the UK) undertaken in the performance of their official duties. Members shall publish on their website the total claimed in the preceding year.

Daily Allowance

Under PEAM Article 11, Members are entitled to a subsistence allowance for the days or part days on which that they are present in the Parliament. Members shall publish on their website the total amount they claimed in the preceding year.



1 Shortly to be published on the European Parliament's website.

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