Over the last weeks story of Tory MP Derek Conway has been pasted all over the press. On top of his salary (of £60,675) and personal allowances (and paying his wife over £30,000 a year to be his assistant) he has been paying his sons roughly £10,000 a year as research assistants whilst they have been studying at university, all of this from public money. However, a House of Commons standard committee found that it was ‘unlikely’ that his sons had actually done this work, which has seen Conway suspended from parliament and the Tory whip removed from him.
It’s been suggested by some that he paid these allowances because his sons wouldn’t qualify for student loans whilst at university and needed some other money. I suppose this is what Tories and free-market proponents mean when they say people should be able to pay their own way! What is needed is a fully funded education system with living grants for all students.
This isn’t the only story of fraudulent behaviour by MP’s of late either, they seem to be appearing at a rate quicker than one a week at the moment. But fraudulent use of public funds is not the only way this system wastes public money, hospital trusts, local councils, universities and many other organisations have wasted billions on consultants advising them how to cut public services, sometimes spending more on consultants than they wished to save. To end this colossal waste, we need to end the capitalist system that creates it and replace it with socialist planning.