Friday, 26 June 2009

Returns to the nearest penny?

Today (25th June) there is talk about the expenses paid out for BBC employees, or at least the top 100. Is there now a battle to be the 101st top employee in the BBC? Should we know what is paid to the nearest penny?

I put in expense returns last week for eight candidates in the recent election. I did this to the best of my ability. If a leaflet was for three of those candidates I would cross-reference each return to the invoice and indicate that a third of the cost was related to each of those candidates. These returns were rounded to the nearest penny. On the same day I saw the expenses of the MPs and it looked like their expenses were often rounded to the nearest hundred pounds.

If you look at my French blog you will see that I have seen High Society for the second time because I was a volunteer. I sold raffle tickets and did one or two other jobs. When I took my raffle money back I wanted to make sure that the money tallied with the number of tickets sold. I was two pounds out! I was concerned at this but the person taking the money off me was reassuring and even told me not to count the tickets. Sometimes the nearest penny or even the nearest pound shouldn't matter - what are you going to do about it except make people worry? i am thankful to that person. I didn't pocket two pounds but I may have dropped it as I was holding the money and tickets in one hand.

Let's see both sides of the expenses debate. Give some responsibilty to individuals but not to the extent where hundreds of pounds can be lost.

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