A NEW report shows former MPs will pocket millions from a controversial pay-off scheme.
Members who either stood down or were defeated at the General Election are entitled to a resettlement grant of up to one-year’s salary – £64,766 – depending on their age and length of service.
The first £30,000 of the payment is tax-free.
Former Colne Valley MP Kali Mountford retired due to ill health at the General Election after 13 years in the House of Commons.
The 56-year-old is entitled to 84% of a year’s salary – £54,400.
Yesterday Ms Mountford’s husband and office manager Ian Leedham explained that she wouldn’t get all the money.
“The House of Commons will decide whatever money is owed,” he said. “It will be done this month but I don’t know exactly when.”
Mr Leedham defended the practice of giving lump sums to former MPs.
He said: “It was part of the agreed conditions of service when Kali started.”
Former Calder Valley MP Chris McCafferty, 64, is also entitled to £54,400 after 13 years in the House of Commons. She could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Her Labour colleague Shahid Malik, 42, who lost the Dewsbury seat he held for five years on May 6, can claim £32,380. He could not be reached for comment yesterday either.
Figures compiled by the Taxpayers’ Alliance show the 218 MPs who left Westminster after the General Election are entitled to £10.4m of resettlement grants.
Spokesman John O’Connell said: “This vast sum of money will be frustrating for taxpayers, particularly after the expenses scandal.”
Mr O’Connell added that it was inaccurate to describe the resettlement grants as redundancy payments.
He said: “MPs should be aware that they are entering a contract with a fixed term – if they’re voted out it’s the end of the contract, not a redundancy.
“Besides, most of the MPs receiving this payment stood down voluntarily.”
Mr O’Connell called on the new Parliament to change the rules about MPs’ expenses.
He said: “With such a high turnover of MPs we have an opportunity to really change things and see if politicians are serious about the new politics that we heard so much about in the election campaign.”
A CONTROVERSIAL furniture payment is among those to be settled by Kali Mountford this month.
The former Colne Valley Labour MP will pay off debts from the £54,400 she is entitled to from the resettlement grant for departing MPs.
In February 2009 she claimed £2,239 in expenses for two sofas and a coffee table for the London flat.
The items had been bought from Barker and Stonehouse in December 2008 – just a month before Ms Mountford announced she would stand down as an MP at the general election.
Her husband and office manager Ian Leedham told the Examiner last December that Ms Mountford would buy back the three items after she left Parliament – at their new, reduced value.
Yesterday he confirmed this was still her intention.
Mr Leedham said: “There is money to come out of the resettlement grant to pay for the sofas and that sort of stuff.”