Monday, November 12, 2007

Blair is Getting £400,000 a Year in Expenses

Dods / ePolitix For Sale

Guido hears that Huveaux plc, the parent company of The House Magazine publishers, Dods and the yawntastic ePolitix.com (written by many, read by few) is for sale and on the block with private equity house August Equity LLP circling.

The parent company has £18m of debt and a capitalisation of only £40m, Guido suspects that any buyer will therefore be keen to spin out the political publishing arm. Huveaux supposedly paid £5m for “Political Wizard”, a political search engine and “sophisticated campaigning tool”. Not.

ePolitix until recently claimed to be the “UK’s premier politics site”, but after a bit of needling about them trailing some political blogs (which Guido is too modest to mention) they changed their slogan to “shaping the political agenda”. Meaning they will reprint any lobbyist’s press releases for cash.

359 Lords-a-Fiddlin’

Sam Coates in The Times has another research based snouts-in-the-trough piece. The evidence is that at least 359 Lords, that is the majority of the them, are fiddling their expenses. The evidence whilst circumstantial is particularly compelling. Can it be a coincidence that, according to the article;
  • 359 of the 550 Lords who claimed “day subsistence” — a £78.50 payment for meals and taxis — claimed the maximum on 95%of occasions or more.
  • 272 of the 406 peers who live outside London and claim “overnight subsistence” for hotels — worth £159.50 — claimed the maximum on 95% of occasions or more.
  • 338 of 514 Lords who claim office expenses, worth £69 a day, claimed the maximum on 95% of occasions or more. Unlike the House of Commons, secretarial costs are paid to the peer to distribute.
Essentially this is a tax-free fiddle with no receipts required. Guido has pointed to the prevalence of this fiddle before. Many of the same peers, particularly Labour ones, also get on a few Quangos as well to pad out their retirement as if the gold-plated, non-contributory pension benefits they voted themselves when they were MPs were not enough already. The gravy train flows thick and fast for many ennobled MPs.

What particularly irks and disgusts Guido, is that they claim £78.50 for “subsistence meals” per day and children in state schools get meals costing 40p per day. Shows their real priorities doesn’t it? They really know how to look after themselves don’t they?

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View


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