Back in 2005-06, the amount of money that the House of Commons erupted up against the proverbial wall on Parliamentary graffiti in the form of Early Day Motions celebrating the life of a celebrity chef's dog and calling for more maggots to be available on the NHS, was in the region of £600,000.
So, where are we now in the "Age of Austerity"© with those costs? Up? Down? The same? Stupid question really because you know the answer, it's up. Actually, it's almost double now. In the year 2009/10 the total cost of Early Day motions came in at a princely sum of approximately £1 million. According to Sir Stuart Bell,
Most of this cost was accounted for by printing and publication of early-day motions, amendments to them, and names added to them, under the House's contract with TSO. This cost nearly £776,000 in 2009-10.Yes, we really do have to spend £150K alone on the salary, pension and NI contributions for the poor sods that have to sort out the latest self-congratulatory bollocks that our MPs want to spout off fruitlessly about.
Expenditure is incurred on staff time to process and input notices relating to early-day motions, and to index that material. Staff who deal with EDMs also undertake other duties, but a rough estimate of the full salary costs incurred from the estimated amount of their time spent on EDMs, including employer's pension contribution and national insurance, is of the order of £150,000 for 2009-10.
In addition, technical support for the EDMi database and the Table Office's software application for processing EDMs cost approximately £87,000 in 2009-10.
One such recent example would be the ever amsuing Kerry McCarthy MP, who tabled the following about Bristol City FC's proposed new stadium,
That this House wholeheartedly supports England's bid to host the 2018 FIFA Football World Cup; recognises the need to have a range of geographically-widespread, high-quality stadia to attract the bid; supports the A City United group, which is campaigning for the construction of a stadium in Ashton Vale, Bristol suitable for hosting World Cup matches;welcomes the proposed designation of a wetlands and wildlife area on the Ashton Vale site; and calls on the Government to support Bristol City Football Club's new stadium as part of the FIFA World Cup bid.Why highlight this? Well Kerry seems to be calling on the Government to support something which it is already supporting, given that Ashton Vale is a candidate stadium already - not the Government has any actual power over which grounds get used anyway.
A total waste of money EDM to be sure, although it does give Kerry some free* PR in her local press.
* When I say "free" I obviously mean free in the sense that the taxpayer funds it.
Note: "Age of Austerity" is copyright of GideonOsborne Inc
Update: Edited to correct my misreading of words as per comment below.