Ed & Yvette Profit Handsomely

So who did really well yesterday? Not small businessman, wacked with an 80% hike in capital gains tax when they sell their business at retirement. Alternatively if they work themselves to death dealing with regulatory red tape and hand the business on to their children, Brown and Darling will take, compared to the Tories, an extra £560,000* off the bereaved children. So much for rewarding enterprise.

If you own two homes you just got a handy reduction from 40% to 18% on capital gains. Is it a coincidence that almost all MPs own two homes? The constituency and Westminster home owners already benefit from a tax-free allowance worth £40,000 annually to pay their mortgages. Now they can sell the taxpayer funded second home and only pay the reduced capital gains – a 55% tax cut for MPs.

Mr and Mrs Balls are paid by the taxpayers quarter-of-a-million a year between them, so hard done by are they that they still claim tens of thousands extra in mortgage subsidy on top. Now with the new changes they will be able to sell that second home you paid for and they will pay only 18% tax on it. No wonder they are laughing…

UPDATE : A co-conspirator reminds Guido not to forget the Miliband boys successful efforts to award themselves an IHT tax cut. David Milband is today living in a £ 1.5 million ultra-fashionable-Primrose Hill townhouse at the centre of a complex inheritance-tax avoidance scheme. He shamelessly exploited a loophole which he used to reduce his death duty bills.

When his father Ralph died in 1994 aged 70, leaving a large estate, the Miliband boys agreed a ‘deed of variation’. The cunning move meant that 40% of the equity of the Primrose Hill home was transferred to Ed and David, who were each given a 20% share in the house neatly evading the tax bill.

*Could be an incorrect figure, see the debate in the comments. Guido is not an accountant.

Snouts in Trough : "Do You Know Who I Am?"

So much for equality in the people’s palace. The political class really does have airs and graces:

Access to Services
Before the recess the Speaker approved the Administration Committee’s recommendation that Members should have priority access to services throughout the Commons part of the Parliamentary Estate.

With effect from today, staff and other users should be prepared to give way to Members when queuing for retail and catering services, the post office, travel office or when using other facilities such as lifts, photocopiers, telephone cubicles, etc.

When using parliamentary facilities, please bear in mind whether there is, or is likely to be, a heavy demand from Members and, if so, try to amend your own plans or schedule.

Peter Grant Peterkin
Serjeant at Arms

Sue Harrison
Director of Catering Services

Don’t Miss Dispatches Tonight on C4 at 8pm

Have just finished reading Peter Oborne’s new book The Triumph of the Political Class. It is a brilliant anatomisation of the reality of the contemporary situation. Guido is therefore looking forward to tonight’s exposé of the venality of our politicians. Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper’s legal fiddling of £27,000 of allowances will be covered…

Citizen’s Consultants

Organising “Citizen’s Juries” has made Gordon’s pollster, Deborah Mattinson, a lot of money over the years. Amazingly they have now become a key Gordon Brown government policy. Who, Guido wonders, will get paid all those fat fees for organising what are jumped up focus groups?

All this talk of Gordon’s Citizen’s Juries and Dave’s National Citizenship Service is confusing Guido. The U.N. lists the British form of government not as a democracy, but as a constitutional monarchy. So you are Her Majesty’s subjects not citizens. Whereas Guido is a citizen of a free republic…


Romsey Redhead Silent on Merial

Sandra Gidley MP, AKA the Romsey Redhead and Big Pharma’s best friend in parliament, was paid for by Sanofi Aventis to go to Paris and Budapest last year on a junket.

They are one of the co-owners of Merial, the company suspected of being the source of the Foot and Mouth outbreak in Guildford. Guildford is all of 60 miles away from her constituency. No word from her about the outbreak as yet…

Snouts in Trough : Cash for Passes

Sam Coates in The Times has a piece on Lords lining their pockets with lobbying consultancies and doling out handy Westminster security passes to lobbyists in return. These Cash for Passes deals mean that some of the bars in the Palace of Westminster are packed with twentysomething lobbyists who do nothing but lubricate the Mother of Parliaments for vested interests.

In the U.S. lobbyists have to register and publicly declare their clients. We need a similar system that also forces them to declare any payments to lawmakers.

Snouts in Trough : James Gray (Again)

James Gray is widely perceived to be a cad. He barely held on to his seat when efforts were made by disgusted Tories to deselect him over his treatment of his wife when she had cancer – he left her for his mistress. The mistress’ husband was quoted as saying that James Gray is full of “sanctimonious, self-serving drivel.”

The Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Sir Philip Mawer, “encouraged” him to repay payments to his ex-wife of £12,000 from his Commons expenses between last October and February, when the payments were exposed in the Mail on Sunday. Ordinary people caught defrauding the public purse get prosecuted, when MPs get caught they just repay the money. Disgraced Blunkett fiddled his expenses for his mistress, got caught and repaid the money he defrauded “by mistake”. What will it take for an MP to be prosecuted?

Scores of MPs fiddle their mortgage expenses, pay spouses and offspring to do non-jobs, whilst claiming allowances to which they are not really entitled. The sums are not insignificant, but the principle that law makers should not be law breakers is more important than the size of the fiddle. This is stealing from the public purse, defrauding the taxpayer. MPs complain that the public don’t trust them.

Can’t politicians see that their transparently venal ways are a large part of the problem?

Lynne Spends £22,000 on Stationery in March

LibDem MP Lynne Featherstone’s office was exposed trying to beat a new budget deadline for stationery by ordering £22,000 of supplies in March. When an email leaked out what did the campaigner for Freedom of Information do? She got the Liberal Democrat’s chief whip to take up the matter of the leaked e-mail with the Speaker’s Office. She is blaming it all on her staff – surely she must have noticed the forest’s worth of paper?

Snouts in the Trough :Labour Peers’ "Creeping Corruption"

The LibDem’s Lord Oakeshott is complaining that Labour peers are ten times more likely than Tories to be coining it on government quangos. Labour has 211 peers after a decade of ermine sales by Sleazy Levy. The Tories have 203

[…]

Norman Baker Filibusters Cover-Up Bill

Good luck to LibDem MP Norman Baker, who has vowed to use fillibustering tactics to ensure that the bill to exempt MPs from Freedom of Information requests runs out of time before passing.

Baker has a cross-party alliance with Tory

[…]

Politicians are Better Off In the EU

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, the Better Off Out campaign is holding a Better Off IN reception (junket) tonight at the Old Bank of England from 7 until closing time. The theme is that

[…]

Snouts in the Trough : Microsoft Doles Out Pork and Wine

Here is a fine example of how the ruling political class literally get their snouts in the trough courtesy of suppliers:

First minister Jack McConnell and Danuta Hubner, European commissioner for regional policy, are among the speakers at a two-day

[…]



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Quote of the Day

Paul Waugh asks Chuka Umunna if he wants children:

“It’s always something that my father taught me, which is really the bedrock of everything is your family and that’s true. My family and the people close to me keep me sane. Sometimes, things get blown up out of all proportion in this place and that’s always the reaction of my family, my girlfriend and my friends. I can use that to judge whether it really is that important.”

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