Taxpayer Billed Six Figures to Restore Whitehall Art

Guido has got hold of the bill for restoring the art decorating Whitehall departments. In the last two years alone the taxpayer has spent £168,515 touching up 829 paintings and sculptures. Many of the restorations couldn’t be valued so the real figure will be much higher. 

The frame and canvas of this oil painting of Charles II needed restoring. Cost to the taxpayer: £14,344.

Taxpayers also spent £6,747 repairing this large lump of bronze (above). And over five grand for this strange bowl thing:

Unbelievably, repairing this neon sign cost over two grand:

The government art collection is believed to be worth several BILLION pounds and most of it is never seen by the taxpayers who own it. Wouldn’t it be better to sell it off to galleries and ease cutbacks elsewhere?

Max Mosley Bankrolled Watson’s Deputy Leadership Campaign

Tom Watson’s deputy leadership campaign was bankrolled by multi-millionaire former Monaco-based tax exile Max Mosley. Guido can reveal Mosley wrote Watson a cheque for £12,500 in August, also providing him with £27,554 worth of printing, a total of a cool £40,000. Mosley spent years avoiding tax in Monaco, returning to the UK in 2010 when he complainedI now have to pay tax here“. Don’t tell Jeremy Corbyn…

Watson’s campaign placed press regulation as his number one issue, putting Leveson front and centre of his website ahead of any other issue. What was it about their shared Murdo-phobia that convinced the German-themed spanking party enthusiast to open his chequebook?

Varoufakis Mockingly Praises Osborne’s Faux Austerity

Rock star former Greek finance minister and self confessed “unapologetic Marxist” Yanis Varoufakis used his slot on Question Time last night to compliment George Osborne for not actually implementing austerity.

“I don’t believe that we need an alternative to austerity because austerity is not an option. And indeed, I’m going to give a compliment to George Osborne and to the Tory government, it’s going to create some consternation I think in the Tory party. He hasn’t really practiced austerity, he’s talked about austerity, he did a little bit of it and then it didn’t work. He killed off this nascent recovery after 2009 with the little bit of austerity he did and he stopped, and indeed I can assure you that in discussions I have with good friends of mine in the Tory party, they have been very supportive to us here in Greece and to me personally in our struggle to end austerity in Greece.”

Varoufakis is right, Osborne jacked up welfare spending by £28 billion during his first four years on the job and is still overspending by £2 billion a week. In office Varoufakis, a socialist Greek finance minister, was more of a deficit hawk than the Conservative British Chancellor, Osborne’s austerity is only rhetorical, he is currently running a higher deficit than Greece

Corbynomics Guru Gets Brillo’d

Obscure tax blogger and Twitter eccentric Richard Murphy is now unofficially advising Corbyn on his economic policy. Readers will remember Guido’s past stories on the hypocritical ‘tax justice’ campaigner, well today he got Brillo’d on the Daily Politics:

Including such gems as:

“One of the ideas I’ve got is to create modest amounts of inflation…

At the moment I would add to the deficit…”

Coming soon to a Tory attack ad near you…

Straw and Rifkind Let Off By Standards Commissioner

Jack Straw did not break parliamentary rules when he boasted he could use his influence to change EU rules for a company that pays him £60,000-a-year:

“I got in to see the relevant director general and his officials in Brussels …  and we got the sugar regulations changed,” he said. “I mean … the crucial thing about this, it’s all, it’s public that the regulations have been changed, but the best way of dealing with these things is under the radar”

Malcolm Rifkind has also been cleared this morning. See the original Telegraph/Dispatches story here. Developing…

UPDATE: Despite Straw suggesting he could use his influence to have laws changed in exchange for payment, the Commissioner finds:

“The question of lobbying for reward or consideration simply does not arise”

On Straw boasting about how his reputation and contacts would be useful to a lobbying firm, the Commissioner says sympathetically:

“A Member’s reputation will be important to them and, inevitably, is part of the “package” on which they may rely when they later seek employment outside the House.”

On Rifkind, the Standards Commissioner explains he has let him off on a technicality:

“Had Sir Malcolm’s offer been taken up, particularly after the second meeting when it was clear that PMR were likely to have further questions relating to the possibility of employing him, Sir Malcolm might then have been in breach of the rules by using parliamentary resources for the purpose of boosting his employment prospects.”

The Commissoner says that while Rifkind made “errors of judgement”, “Sir Malcolm has suffered as a result of the allegations and inferences made, which were covered widely in the media”. Playing the world’s tiniest violin…

UPDATE II: The Telegraph and Dispatches get both barrels from the Standards Commissioner:

“the distorted coverage of the actions and words of the Members concerned has itself been the main cause of the damage… If in their coverage of this story, the reporters for Dispatches and the Daily Telegraph had accurately reported what was said by the two Members in their interviews, and measured their words against the rules of the House, it would have been possible to avoid the damage that has been done to the lives of two individuals and those around them, and to the reputation of the House”

Ouch…

UPDATE III: Channel 4 hit back:

“Channel 4 Dispatches stands by its journalism; this was a fair and accurate account of what the two MPs said. This investigation was in the public interest and revealed matters that were of serious public concern.”

Osborne Breaks £1.7 Billion Promise

Last autumn, Osborne claimed he had forced Brussels to cut in half the £1.7 billion “prosperity tax” Britain had been billed by the EU, promising he had secured a “better deal” and that he had got a “result for Britain“. At the time the PM called the original bill “appalling” and “completely unacceptable“.

Guess what?

Osborne delayed the payment until after the election, then this month quietly paid the bill in full. In fact, we paid £2.9 billion, and will only get back the difference at a later date. Eurosceptics and hard-working taxpayers alike will be furious at this capitulation to Brussels. If Labour are going to be any sort of opposition whatsoever, this is the sort of thing their new Brexit-backing leader should be leading on at PMQs…

TUC Play ‘Hey Big Spender’ Before Corbyn Speech

Jezza is addressing the Trades Union Congress this afternoon. Just before he went on stage, what did the TUC’s string quartet feel was a fitting song to play?

“I could see you were a man of distinction, a real big spender, Good lookin’, so refined…”

Poll: How to Deal With MPs Not Settling Debts?

snouts

How to deal with the 26 MPs who refused to pay back money owed to the taxpayer despite being asked “several times” by IPSA? The Taxpayers’ Alliance say dock their pay:

“If sitting MPs are unwilling to pay what is due, the simple solution would be for the amount to be docked from their next salary payment. Those former MPs who have been named and shamed should also do the honourable thing and pay up – and if they are unwilling to do so, then the obvious sanction would be to remove the parliamentary pass they enjoy as a former member until such as time as their debts to the taxpayer are paid up.”

IPSA have flown the white flag because it isn’t “cost effective” to chase up debts under £500. What do you think they should do?

Take Guido’s poll…

Named and Shamed: MPs Refusing to Pay Back Debts to Taxpayer

snouts

The expenses watchdog has decided not to pursue the recovery of debts owed by 26 shameless MPs, who owe the taxpayer amounts up to £500 but are refusing to pay up. The cost of recovering the debts means it is […]

+ READ MORE +

Shameless LibDems Bung Honours to More Donors

nick clegg sad

Next time the LibDems tell us how the House of Lords is an antiquated, corrupt body that needs reform, remember who they chose to give honours to today:

Duncan Greenland CBE: Has donated a total of £316,858.95 to the LibDems 

[…]

+ READ MORE +

Corbyn Campaign Bolstered By Union Gold

Last month Jeremy Corbyn declared a grand total of zero donations above the registrable amount. This month the unions’ cheques have cleared, landing Jez with over £50,000 from Unite, £25,000 from the RMT and £10,000 from ASLEF. Not including the […]

+ READ MORE +

Cabinet Office Cover Up Taxpayer-Funded MacBook Splurge

big ben apple

Nearly all the civil servants in the Cabinet Office who were offered a free laptop on the taxpayer chose an Apple MacBook Air. But they don’t want you to know it…

2000 staff were given a choice between a selection […]

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Liam Fox shreds Cameron’s Calais scaremongering:

“Sad and disappointed to see our Prime Minister stoop to this level of scaremongering, especially as he knows the Calais agreement is nothing to do with the EU and agreed between the two govts”

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