Shame on the lot of youPosted: May 10, 2009
Just been reading all this stuff about MPs and their expenses, and it’s making my blood boil!
It may well be within the rules, but some of them have really been taking the piss, haven’t they? A few randomly selected examples I’ve just been reading about:
Kevin Brennan bought a widescreen TV which was delivered to his home in Wales, and then claimed back under his second home allowance. He says it was for his home in London - yeah, right.
John Reid claimed for a pouffe(!), ice cube trays (cost £3), and a glittery toilet seat (vital for his role as an MP, that one) - again all for his non-London home.
Kitty Ussher claimed for a full make-over of her house within 12 months of becoming an MP – estimated cost to the tax payer £20,000.
Baroness Thornton claims £22,000 a year in expenses by saying that her mother’s house in Yorkshire is her main residence … when she actually has a £1 million house in Hampstead Heath!
Sinn Fein MPs have been claiming money for properties in London when they don’t even attend parliament!
And on, and on….
I realise that the examples I have given relate mainly to Labour MPs, but we can be sure that the Tories are fleecing us too, can’t we? And this whole ‘switching around which is your second home to maximise what you can claim back and possibly to reduce the amount of capital gains tax paid’ malarky is appalling!
I am feeling particularly narked by the whole thing because of a recent experience of my own with expense claims. I didn’t submit a claim for travel expenses for about a year when I started in my current SLT job. (We can claim back bus fares and the like, incurred when travelling to meetings which are part of our work). The reason I was slow to submit my claim was that I was generally too busy working! I always had an urgent report to do that took precedence. When I eventually did submit my claim (for about £80), I was told that I was too late! I would not be able to claim the money back as a new rule had been introduced saying that you can only claim back expenses arising in the past three months!!! I was so pissed off! (And my claim was for expenses I had genuinely incurred in the course of my work – not for a fancy loo seat!)
But back to the MPs … the whole system really needs sorting out, doesn’t it? It will be interesting to see who, if anyone, comes out of this untarnished. And I really hope that Tory MPs’ expenses are exposed in the same way as Labour MPs’ have been … although given that it is The Telegraph that seems to be doing most of the exposing at the moment, I doubt whether that will actually happen.