Gainsborough MP explains why he is closing his constituency office

Sir Edward Leigh MP
Sir Edward Leigh MP

Having served two terms as the chairman of the public accounts committee, investigating Government waste, I have devoted a great deal of time trying to secure better value for money in the way our taxes are spent, writes Sir Edward Leigh.

I believe taxes should be as low as possible because people should be able to keep as much of what they earn as possible – it’s the worker’s money, not the state’s.

I am also proud that of Lincolnshire MPs and of MPs overall my Parliamentary expenses have been among the lowest.

Recently, it has become clear that the benefits of maintaining a permanent office in the constituency do not outweigh the costs which they incur to the taxpayer.

A decade ago it made perfect sense to have one.

But the reality is that the nature of work is changing and, despite being an ardent Luddite when it comes to technology, so much work is now done remotely that there’s no reason for my staff to have to trundle along to a physical office paid for out of taxpayers’ money.

Since the murder of Jo Cox, MPs have been forced to keep security and personal safety in mind as well.

And based on what the consultants tell me would be necessary to bring my constituency office up to a proper standard, I don’t feel it is worth the cost.

SEE ALSO: MP backs £37 million investment plan for the area.

While I will no longer be maintaining a permanent office, this will not negatively affect constituents at all.

I will still be having the same number of surgeries for constituents to meet me at and, as Lincolnshire is my home, I will continue to spend most weekends and as much time outside of the Parliamentary session as possible here.

But it will mean less drain on the public purse, which is what I think MPs need to keep in mind.

Brexit is as always at the front of our minds in addition to the contest for the leadership of the Conservative party.

But while these issues grab the headlines there is, as there always is, a lot more going on in the heart of Government than necessarily gets talked about in the evening news or on the Today programme on Radio 4.

READ THIS: New PM must deliver on Brexit.

To take just one example, we Conservatives are delivering a year early on our manifesto promise by cutting income tax for 32 million people to help them keep more of what they earn

This is because the personal allowance will be increased to £12,500.

Compared to 2010 when the Conservatives entered Government, a normal basic rate taxpayer will be paying £1,205 less in tax today compared to then.

Meanwhile, employment is again at a record high, with more than 3.7 million more people in work, giving a greater number of families the security of a regular wage.

While Labour stoke dissent, division, and dependency upon the state, the Conservatives are keen to build a prosperous society in which individuals can achieve their potential and keep as much of what they earn as possible.