Value for money?

12 May 2009
The MPs expenses debacle is a story that keeps on giving and one quote on the BBC website really leapt out at me today. Detailing the alleged £304.10 claim for the upkeep of his swimming pool, Conservative MP Stewart Jackson said: "The pool came with the house and I needed to know how to run it. Once I was shown that one time, there were no more claims. I take care of the pool myself. I believe this represents 'value for money' for the taxpayer." I can’t help but feel Jackson's statement fuels some public anger, despite his assurance he will repay the money. "Value for money" is a phrase often used by buyers, particularly those in the public sector. It can have great depth of meaning when large and quantifiable savings are made without compromising a level of service. But when the phrase is used to justify a claim for an MP's swimming pool maintenance bill, its meaning is completely drowned. What represents real value for money?
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