Monday, April 6, 2009

Even the Chancellor Cheats the Taxpayer

What hope is there when the Chancellor, who is responsible for the integrity of the public finances, is lining his pocket at the public’s expense?  In times gone by this would have been a resigning matter.  The Right “Honourable” Alistair Darling will no doubt tell us he has done nothing wrong.  Judge for yourself:

He has a choice of four homes; he is provided with two grace and favour homes at the public’s expense, he rents out his former private home (originally taxpayer funded) for his private profit and then he claims for his other home.   He has at  various times claimed that various houses were his main residence – in doing so he always maximised his claim for expenses.   Today he pays no housing expenses whatsoever out of his own pocket – anywhere – while the taxpayer pays for three properties for him and he rents out a fourth to make an extra profit. The condemnation is universal:

Last night, a spokeswoman for Mr Darling refused to comment on his expense claims. However, it previously emerged that until 2005 he claimed that a flat he shared with other Labour MPs was his “main home”. This allowed him to claim about £70,000 in expenses on his Edinburgh home where his wife and children lived.

It was then reported that he switched his formal declaration and told the Parliamentary authorities that the Edinburgh home was his main residence. This allowed him to claim for a London property and it is thought he bought a flat in the capital.

However, after becoming Chancellor in July 2007, Downing Street automatically became his main residence. It is thought that he then began claiming expenses again on the Edinburgh property and rented out the London home. In the 2007-08 financial year, Mr Darling claimed £9,837 in second-home expenses.

Mr Cameron said: “Given the state is effectively providing the minister with a second home, I can see no justification for them continuing to claim a second-home allowance. If elected I will make sure no Conservative minister with a grace-and-favour residence in London would be allowed to make a claim for a second home – including me.

“We have to sort this out now. No one will listen to politicians about anything if the impression is that they are living high on the hog off the back of taxpayers.”

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, said: ``It is clearly barmy for ministers to indulge in a form of double counting that enables them to enjoy two homes at the taxpayer’s expense.

“To say this is within the rules will only serve to convince the public that the rules are broken and need to be fixed as soon as possible.

Susie Squire of the Taxpayers’ Alliance added: “Alistair Darling has some serious questions to answer about his exploitation of the parliamentary allowances system. It’s very concerning that the man who is in charge of our money thinks it is appropriate to make a fast buck from the taxpayer. His behaviour is totally unacceptable.”

Go on, defend this Sir Michael White…

UPDATE : The London Evening Standard has discovered that Margaret Beckett is at it as well, she has three homes courtesy of the taxpayers.  Her caravan is (Guido believes) her own…

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday Sleaze Round-Up – MPs Spit in Our Faces

When Guido started his campaign against troughing MPs it was an occasional thing to to do a Sunday Sleaze Round-Up. Nowadays it is difficult to keep up with so many pigs in so much s**t:

Jacqui claimed for her barbecue as well as her kitchen sink to ‘help her perform her duties as an MP’.

MPs ‘not trusted’ to review their own pay and expenses according to the Committee for Standards in Public Life.

The News of the World has done a great video which seems to come from a familiar idea:

It accompanies their story on the husband and wife champion parliamentary troughing team to match and exceed the greedy pillaging of the taxpayers done by the Wintertons – the Robinsons. They get to trough in Westminster and at the Northern Ireland Assembly to the tune of an unbelievable £600,000 a year.

MPs have even claimed for their taxes out of your taxes. Genius. They charge stamp duty to expenses.

Guido has been shouting about the Green Book Rule changes which came into force on April Fools Day – and politicians really must take us for fools. To stop all the rule breaking by MPs they came up with a clever solution. Scrap the rules! Keep on troughing…

Finally Rudi Vis MP is retiring from troughing and will no longer be on burden on the taxpayers – just as soon as we finance his retirement home on expenses. Don’t forget to collect your gold-plated index-linked pension scheme…

Sunday Sleaze Hoon Special

Sunday Sleaze

The Mail on Sunday has Hoon bang to rights manipulating the system to build a mortgage free property portfolio.  He lived in a grace and favour apartment in Admiralty House, rented out his London home and claimed the allowance for his constituency home.  In the process making hundreds of thousands in profits playing the system and clearing his mortgage. All at the expense of the taxpayer.

Classic line from the article:

When The Mail on Sunday suggested that it appeared he had made a considerable sum by ‘manipulating the system’, he replied: ‘I don’t accept that for a moment.’

Complete Hoon…

UPDATE : According to the News of the World 138 MPs rent out a property at the same time as claiming claiming a second home allowance.  138 MPs are clearly and Hoonishly manipulating the system to build a property portfolio at the taxpayer’s expense.  That is how “public servants” who have never had a proper job in their lives, retire as millionaires off the backs of taxpayers.

Friday, April 3, 2009

MP’s Expenses Scans Update :£10,000 Reward Offered for the Truth

They are being hawked around again. The Sun (as well as The Times) has been offered the disks, but are worried about handling “stolen” goods. Sources at the Mail on Sunday and News of the World say that have not been offered the scans and would in any case have to consider legal obstacles.  So much for a fearless free press.

After the last story a number of co-conspirators contacted Guido suggesting we have a whip round.  If you want to pledge support in the comments, feel free.

To the person who has the disks, what you have is of great public interest, what you have done is heroic, Guido and his co-conspirators will pay £10,000 cash in gratitude for the disks – today – no questions asked.  Call 0709 284 0531.

Jury Finds Jacqui Guilty

Jury Team, the new internet-based party set-up by Paul Judge to bring independent candidates with clean hands into politics, is making waves by running American-style attack ads in Jacqui Smith’s constituency – they will run online in Redditch local newspapers from tomorrow morning.

The advert is not that aggressive by American standards, by British standards it is, so much so that the newspapers in which it is running took legal advice before accepting the advert.

Iain Dale underestimates the anti-political climate that they are trying to tap into, anyone can stand in the party’s primaries. They are a small party but the internet means they can grow fast.  The Italian mani pulite movement in the early 90s started small and led eventually to the demise of the corrupt First Republic and the collapse of the old party structures.  When you have David Cameron proposing parliamentary reforms which will result in MPs pocketing more taxpayers cash you really wonder if these mavericks could go mainstream.  It happened in Italy…

Thursday, April 2, 2009

MP’s Expense Scans :Uploading is Public Interest Whistle Blowing

This is a message to the person who is reported in yesterday’s Times as having the unredacted MP’s expenses scans on disk.  Guido completely understands that you would like to make a profit for risking your neck. If however that is proving difficult, make contact with Guido via secure HushmailIn this context Guido has no qualms about handling stolen goods.

The public interest defence is an absolute protection and well established in law.  Guido can ensure that those scans are online and out of the reach of the British legal system within 24 hours.  The sooner those receipts are in the sunlight, the better.  Don’t let the parasitical political class paint you out as a venal thief – those receipts belong in the public domain, the public paid for them you can show us where the money went.    Your action will be heroic.

UPDATE : Private Eye’s Adam McQueen also has some advice on the subject.

Monday, March 30, 2009

LibDems Claim Highest Expenses

Half of MPs Claim Within 10% of the Maximum

Fiddlers

This breakdown of the second home allowance graphically shows how MP’s milk the system. Over half of them claim within 10% of the maximum £23,083 allowed…funny that…

UPDATE : Jacqui Smith claimed £135 under the maximum £23,083.  Tsk, tsk.

+++ MP’s Expense Totals Released for 2008 +++

MPs Fear Expenses Whistle Blowers

Note that the anger MPs are feeling about the expenses revelations is directed not at those MPs who are abusing the system and bringing them all into disrepute, but at those who are exposing them. Labour MPs are convinced there is a “Tory mole”* in the fees office, others think that digitised versions of their soon to be released receipts are being shopped around the papers.

MPs are after blood – the blood of the whistle blowers rather than the blood of those robbing the public.

That is how morally compromised they are, no longer able to see that what they are doing is wrong.  They just want to stop the sunlight shining on their dodgy practises.

*Having been involved in a few of these expense fiddle stories coming to light, MPs should realise that the sources are often constituents, outraged staff, disgusted civil servants, sometimes rival politicians from the same party and often the result of plain old digging. Politicians are now widely despised as a class, don’t be surprised that your dirty secrets are becoming public knowledge.


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