Jun 16 2010 by Richard Mooney, Airdrie & Coatbridge
FORMER Airdrie MP John Reid last week received over £60,000 of taxpayers’ money to help him adjust to “non-parliamentary life”.
The Celtic chairman was given a £64,766 resettlement grant after he voluntarily stepped down as a member of parliament at the last election.
Dr Reid – who was made a peer in Ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s farewell Honours List – received the money in addition to his parliamentary pension, with the first £30,000 tax free.
According to the House of Commons website, resettlement grants help politicians standing down after a general election to deal with the “difficulties faced by MPs of all ages in obtaining new employment”. The amount given is determined by the length of service served.
John O’Connell, policy analyst at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “This vast sum of money will be frustrating for taxpayers, particularly after the expenses scandal. 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.
“The current recommendations for changing the system do not go far enough and would, in some cases, have made only a tiny difference this time around.
“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.”
Currently, Dr Reid is chairman of Celtic Football Club, a position he receives a reported £35,000 for. Soon the former Home Secretary will be made a life peer in the House of Lords, an unpaid position, but he will still be able to claim up to £335.50 in expenses for every day he attends.
According to the last MPs’ register of interests, it also shows that Dr Reid earned between £45,000 and £50,000 from security firm G4S UK. The former Cabinet Minister also earned between £5,000 and £10,000 for a speech to the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors in June 2008.
Dr Reid (62) was criticised last year in the Advertiser by readers after his expenses revealed a number of “absurd” claims. Dr Reid was reimbursed – courtesy of the taxpayer – for items such as a £1.50 bar tip, a £139.99 Sony Ericsson Z200 mobile phone, a £89.99 Goodmans microwave oven and £3.60 for women’s fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar.
He also spent nearly £9,000 refurbishing his home – £29.99 of which was spent on a black glitter toilet seat.
After the Thomas Legg investigation into MP’s parliamentary spending earlier this year, Dr Reid repaid £7,336.51 of his allowances.