I recommend a bit of citizen journalism, go to THIS link and look up your MP, or any Peer's expenses & allowances and see what they have claimed (through all of the black out.)
It would take me a month of lunch-times to get through Cheryl Gillan MP's expenses, but already it has turned up a few things from a very quick review.
Firstly, when this counts as a legitimate invoice, you can only wonder at the scale of possible fraud that may have taken place on a wide-scale:
More worryingly though, is that it seems that when you are short of a few quid, you can simply claim for some "Petty Cash" as seen on these examples:
I am not sure that Petty Cash how fits into the rules, if it does at all, but it certainly does not seem to be as described in the forms own instructions. It would be nice if my employer could give me some extra money every now and then when I need it - I would be happy to fill out a short form in order to secure it.
I will be clearing some time from this weekend to take a more detailed look I think - certainly I need longer than my lunch-time will permit. It seems that it will need to take people who are interested in making sure that our elected representatives are not ripping us off to give up yet more lunchtimes and weekends to highlight potential dishonesty.
If you are not a blogger and you take a look and see something odd, feel free to email me with the details (and preferably a link) and I will be happy to publish irregularities on my blog, giving due credit or ensuring your confidentiality as you prefer.
Update 14:15 - Having looked through a years worth of claims and receipts (c200 pages), it seems that "Petty Cash" to the value of £200 or £250 comes up regularly, in fact I think every month, but would need to print & reorganise this to be sure. In any case, this looks like a regular income supplement to me, especially considering a lot of "petty items" such as staples are being claimed for separately..... I have spotted a few other potential irregularities that may pan out with a little time and investigation..... But for now, back to my day job!
Update 20-Jun-09: Have spent hours looking through the 2004/05 incidental & staff expenses, there are a lot of questions I now have, and some potential mis-claims evident.... I need to review later years though as some points may be further revealed on later claims.