Fleet News

MEPs lose £50,000 lump sum in favour of mileage allowance

THE European Parliament has voted to stop paying its 626 members an annual £50,000 lump sum to cover their car and rail travel expenditure. MEPs were entitled to this allowance even if they made no official trips by either car or train.

In future, MEPs who do use public transport or their own cars will still be able to claim a mileage allowance, based on a flat reimbursement rate of 67p per mile for the first 310 miles - compared to the UK's Fixed Profit Car Scheme rates where the maximum tax-free reimbursement is 63ppm. But MEPs do not have to prove the miles they have covered - a European Parliament spokesman said the system was based primarily on trust.

'Members have to sign up for parliamentary meetings or sessions and we would check up to see they had attended meetings they said they were coming to. But they do not have to provide petrol receipts or other proof,' he said. 'The annual total cost of providing members with a travel allowance is about £18 million and this change will reduce that by about £1 million.'

But in a separate vote, European Parliament members voted against limiting their travel expenses to the real cost of actual journeys they had made by air. For example an MEP can claim for the price of a business-class flight ticket, but buy an economy class fare.

This is estimated to be worth £800 a month tax-free for British MEPs travelling to Brussels and Strasbourg. Only in the last two years have MEPs had to produce boarding pass stubs - which need not take any account of upgrading - to prove they have made journeys.

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