Expensegate II : Snippets

Nick Clegg managed to claim the maximum (in fact he had to be restrained from over claiming again).  £1,600  for the gardening – Sir Thomas Legg says the gardening limit is £1,000.   It all mounts up…

Douglas Carswell claimed £12.25 for an iron.  Nadine Dorries would not cooperate with the parliamentary authorities over where she actually lived and had a £1,000 gas bill – she must be contributing to global warming.  The mystery continues…

Gordon Brown, class warrior, claimed £1,932.50 for a domestic servant, £175 for a gardener, he paid back £500 for painting a summer house, we still pay his Sky Sports.  He isn’t slow in burdening the taxpayers for his dry cleaning and laundry either.  He taxes the many for a few domestic luxuries…

UPDATE : Why is big Graham Allen claiming for dry cleaning a blouse?

UPDATE II : Jacqui Smith just keeps on troughing; £555.74 for yet another television, a £244.90 DVD player and £611 spent on a new double bed and mattress – separate bedroom perhaps?

UPDATE III : We paid to service the shadow chancellor’s Aga.  George Osborne appears to have mismanaged the only budget he is so far in charge of, he over-spent above the expense limits.  Not a sign of an innate instinct for cost control.

UPDATE IV : Mark Oaten tried to claim £147 for an ‘Onyx Silver Label mattress’ (double). The fees office queried this, as the delivery address was not that of his second home.  Hmmm…

Expensegate II : Purnell's Playboy Lifestyle at Our Expense

Smiling James PurnellPurnell has been living the glam Soho life at our expense.  In November 2008 he rented a plush flat in Soho for £2,500 a month (the landlord made a special condition that it was thoroughly cleaned throughout at the end of his tenancy).  He buys most of his food at the fancy, ultra-expensive, Fresh and Wild organic deli.  We pay for his TV subscription, cable TV (not sure what he watches).  He is kept looking sharp courtesy of the taxpayer picking up his dry cleaning bills.

He spends his red box free evenings hanging out in Soho clubs – not trendy Polpo mind you- and getting so tired and emotional he loses his wallet and security pass.

In the past purnells-front-gardenJames Purnell has always been a bit shifty with his main residence claims – they tend to get flipped depending on what is the most rewarding in terms of expenses and capital gains dodges. He also got into a bit of trouble for leaving his old flat in a disgusting state. Purnell’s constituency “primary residence” (pictured here) looks like a dump – not that he is ever seen there.   He clearly has decided to move up in the world.   In the real world you would need to earn £50,000 before tax  just to cover the rent on his playboy flat…

Expensegate II

Check your own MPs troughing yourself, returns are online here.

New Tory Poster, Where Does Coulson Get His Ideas?

The Budget Britain Needs Was Delivered in Ireland

By coincidence here in Ireland it was also budget day, the Finance Minister Brian Lenihan delivered a 7% cut in public expenditure to match the 7.5% fall in GDP in 2009.  To equal that Alastair Darling would need to have announced £40 billion in public expenditure cuts today.

Here are some of the reasons Guido thinks Ireland will bounce back faster than the UK:

  • Corporate and capital tax breaks for start-ups have been extended
  • Corporation tax rate of 12.5% is ‘here to stay’
  • “Green tax cuts” for zero emission vehicles
  • VAT has been reduced by ½%
  • Public services efficiencies sort
  • Welfare benefits reduced to 2006 levels, social welfare bill cut by equivalent to 1.5% of public expenditure
  • Dole allowance to be reduced to €150 a week
  • Social welfare to be cut 4.1%
  • Politicians’ pay will be reduced in line with public sector grades
  • Public sector pay cut of 5% on first €30,000 salary, 7.5% on the folllowing €40,000 of salary and 10% on next €55,000
  • Taoiseach (PM) to have pay cut by further 20% on top of previous 10%
  • Permanent pay reduction of 12% for those on over €200,000 in the public sector
  • Savings of over €1bn on public sector pay bill

Darling has gone the other way, introducing penal tax rates at the top, and hiking NI payroll taxes on people on only £20,000.  He put up VAT which as any left-winger will tell you, is regressive and hits the poorest hardest.  What struck Guido was that this is an odd class war political budget, their own core voters are being hit hardest.   Low paid, public sector workers on £20,000 get a pay freeze, a tax hike and whacked by VAT increases – a triple whammy.

Ireland welcomes UK corporations with a tax rate nearly half the UK rate and best of all, Lenihan also announced that alcohol and cigarette taxes are to be reduced…

CCHQ Knobbly Knees Competition Winners

The CCHQ press office staged a breakfast knobbly knees contest on College Green this morning:

Sarkozy has to be the winner.

Live Chat : PMQs & PBR – Brace Yourselves Bankers Edition

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Speaker Should Demand Darling Explain Peston "Confirmation"

Peston is at it again, the cocky hack claims he has “confirmed” matters thus:

“It has been confirmed that the Chancellor Alistair Darling will impose a one-off super-tax on city bonuses when he unveils his Pre-Budget Report today”.

Shouldn’t the Speaker demand of the Chancellor why Peston and not parliament was the first to know of his plans? The PBR is important and may contain market sensitive information.  Peston has previous on this, causing mayhem with share prices and arguably creating a false market.  Bercow made a big thing of insisting on the primacy of parliament when he was running for office. Prove it today.

We'll Pay for Banker Bashing

As Alastair Darling prepares to deliver a kick in the bonuses to successful bankers, pause for thought.  As the bankers eye up properties in Zug and sunnier islands the tax burden falls heavier on those left behind.  The harder you squeeze high-earners, the more will leave these shores – the tax on the many is increased by the few who leave.  That is what happens when looters try to fleece the productive too much.

Bob Diamond, head of investment bank Barclays Capital,  warned yesterday that businesses and individuals could flee the City – “both financial capital and human capital are extremely mobile”.  Tory appeasement of City bashing will continue, led by the son of a son of a son of a stockbroker they stand on the sidelines for fear of being painted as friends of the City.  Guy Hands is just one high-profile tax exile, many more are fleeing the 50% tax rate.  We already seeing human capital flight…

UPDATE : How will the plan to tax bonuses cover the hedge fund community? It won’t is Guido’s guess, they are unregulated in the most and the capital is nominally held offshore. The hedgies in St James are the ones who take home 8-figure sums. Bankers and brokers will have to re-define bonuses as ‘profit shares’ and their limited partnerships as “mutual cooperatives”…

Bid for Machiavelli’s The Prince Signed by Peter Mandelson.

Guido just bid it up to £200 (it is for charidee) – clearly Mandelson’s price is too rich for Guido.

You can bid for it on eBay, and more items are listed here: www.standard.co.uk/auctionGood luck…

Anyone Seen Nadine?

Twitter is awfully quiet without Nadine Dorries who is currently sans Blackberry, filming a documentary on a council estate for a week. Twitter’s traffic has dropped substantially without the regular haiku form updates. The unpopular parts of the blogosphere are almost in despair with a lack of inspiration for their delirious rage-fuelled responses everytime she opens her mouth.

Guido couldn’t help notice however Nad has been missing from other places as well, apparently the order came from the top of  Telegraph that politely requested none of the paper’s staff were to write about her ever again in their news pages. A quick peek at the Telegraph website confirms that she wasn’t mentioned for over a month, unusual for her.

Suggesting that the Barclay brothers were using the expenses scandal to undermine the British political system for a certain minority party probably didn’t help her case.

+++ Expensegate II : Rumour MPs' Expenses Out Thursday +++

As yet unconfirmed officially, but brace yourselves for another round of expenses exposures related to last financial year being released this Thursday morning.  Will be in redacted form…

Hitting the Poorest Hardest with VAT Hikes

In the rush to talk tough on the deficit Alistair Darling is expected to announce an end to Labour’s limited-time-only 2.5% cut in VAT this year.  That means VAT will go back up to 17.5% or, if Darling’s feeling even more stern, to 20%. Since VAT is one of the most regressive taxes this gives the Tories a golden opportunity to shun a tax rise that hits the poorest, hardest.  The chart from the Taxpayers’ Alliance [pdf] shows that the poorest quintile pay over ¼ of their in indirect taxes, the richest only some 10%.

The Tories are refusing to rule out the same rise in VAT to 20%. That makes the Lib Dems the only party to promise substantial tax cuts with a plan to raise the income tax threshold to £10,000. If you are going to hit the low paid hardest with indirect taxes surely it makes sense to compensate them by raising the income tax threshold accordingly? Lower taxes for the low paid has got to be a vote winner.  In any event Guido has a suspicion that Darling’s PBR won’t schedule any rise until after the election…

"I Had that WMD in the Back of the Cab"

We know Alastair Campbell oversaw the cut ‘n pasting of parts of the dodgy dossier from student essays on the internet.  Did he also get “intelligence” from a cabbie?   Tory MP Adam Holloway, a former Grenadier Guardsman who is said to have close links to spies, claims intelligence officials told him that a cabbie falsely claimed Saddam Hussein had acquired long-range missiles after listening to Iraqi commanders chatting in his taxi two years before the invasion.

In future when Gordon Brown makes wild campaign claims we would do well to remember that it is Bad Al Campbell who is sexing up his speeches…

Double Plus Good

Guido was somewhat surprised to hear high praise coming from his old sparring partner Tom Watson of all people. During the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee last week, Watson was quick to praise this blog and push an argument often put forward here: that diary editors are thieving magpies. The academic expert being grilled, Paul Bradshaw, Lecturer in Journalism, Birmingham City University even agreed:

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.4133482&w=480&h=300&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26]

O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his bearded face. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself.  He loved Big Blogger.

Watson 2009, after Orwell 1948, as Smith in “1984”

Jonah News

Guido is starting to get scared by the frequency in which the curse of Gordon rears it’s ugly head.  Brown Steps Into Corus Battle: PM Set For Talks With Bosses the papers cheered in June, inevitably Sky reported on Friday “1,700 workers in the North East are set to lose their jobs in January after steel giant Corus confirmed it will shut down its Teesside plant.”

Two weeks ago Gordon took the Cabinet on an away day to Nottingham.[…]


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Quote of the Day

Trump supporter Raheem Kassam responds to Suzanne Evans calling him “far right”:

“We’re going to rise above it. When she goes low, we go high, to quote Michelle Obama.”

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