'Axing MPs would save the country £1.5bn in one go', says NELC leader Chris Shaw
SCRAP them all!
That's the radical proposal from council leader Chris Shaw for cutting public spending – getting rid of all of the country's 650 MPs.
Under his grand plan, the House of Commons would instead be filled by Councillor Shaw and his fellow local authority leaders.
The Lords would also be scrapped, with a new upper house comprising 100 directly-elected regional representatives in its place.
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Councillor Shaw says his vision, which he plans to outline to ministers today , would save the country £1.5 billion.
Councillor Shaw said: "There are 650 MPs earning a basic salary of £67,000 a year. On top of that is the money they claim for running their offices in London, their second home expenses, and transport. The average cost per MP is £250,000 a year.
"Then there is the House of Lords where they get £300 per day for turning up.
"We do need two chambers as we need the checks and balances, so what we could do is get rid of the House of Lords and have an elected upper house of 100 representatives from the regions. It would be an English Assembly and it would only deal with national issues.
"Local issues would be taken on by the other house and this would consist of – and I would say this wouldn't I – the leaders of councils. The only expense it would incur would be a day's rail travel to London and at most one night's accommodation and travel back.
"They wouldn't need any extra officers in London because they would have the officers they have got from their own local authorities.
"It needs working on but it I think it's got merit. I reckon it could save the country £1.5 billion. You could use half a billion of that to pay down the deficit and the rest could be spread among local authorities to improve services."
Councillor Shaw says he plans to raise his radical cost-cutting proposal with Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, who he will meet along with other council leaders from the Yorkshire and Humber region in Westminster today.
His grand plan is partially a response to ongoing demands from Mr Pickles for local authorities to rein in their spending.
It also comes just weeks after Councillor Shaw floated the idea of cutting the number of elected members on NELC by a third.
He added: "Eric Pickles has always said he wants to hear ideas from local government. Well, here's a prime example. We are always happy to help."