Sunday 25 August 2019

MPs’ housing allowance: Where do they live and does anyone check?

Some 30 Dutch MPs make maximum use of an extra allowance for parliamentarians who live 150 kilometres from The Hague, but there are no checks to make sure they are actually obeying the rules, the Volkskrant said on Tuesday.

The money, over €24,000, is meant to pay for extra accommodation and expenses in The Hague, and is three times the amount paid to MPs who live close to the parliamentary complex. The allowance gets smaller, the nearer the MP lives to The Hague.

However, no-one checks whether MPs actually live so far from parliament and the system is based on trust, the VK said.

The paper highlights the case of Dion Graus, an MP for the anti-immigration PVV, who has been given over €100,000 in housing allowances in his 12 years in parliament.

He officially lives with his mother in Heerlen, in Limburg province, but rents a flat in Voorburg near The Hague.

Although neighbours report never seeing him in Heerlen, the MP told the paper that the Voorburg flat is a pied-à-terre and that he keeps to all the rules. He also told the VK he has to keep quiet about where he lives because of security issues.

Allowances

In addition to their housing allowance – which is paid automatically – and their salary of €109,000 a year, MPs also get an allowance of €4,900 to cover travel within the Netherlands and an allowance of €2,762 a year for job-related expenses.

The accommodation allowance is worked out according to a complicated formula but totals €24,278 for an MP who lives 150 kilometres from the Hague and €7,961 for an MP who lives one kilometre from the Binnenhof parliamentary complex.

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