The Pig Sty House of Commons has finally published details of MPs’ expenses claims – more than a year after the High Court ordered their publication and weeks after they were leaked to the Daily Telegraph.
Revelations about their claims have forced some MPs to announce their resignations and yesterday junior Treasury minister, Kitty Ussher became the latest MP to quit the Government following allegations that she avoided paying capital gains tax by “flipping” her second home.
The list of MPs expenses includes printed documents and receipts relating to claims made between 2004/05 and 2007/08 for a series of parliamentary allowances, but it seems they are still a bit coy about telling the public the whole truth – many details have been blanked out or have been left out altogether.
These include claims under the £24,000-a-year Additional Costs Allowance, which reimburses MPs for the cost of having to maintain a second home while serving at Westminster; the £22,000 Incidental Expenses Provision, which pays for running an office; and the £10,400 Communications Allowance, which covers the cost of newsletters and websites to inform constituents about their activities; as well as details of expenditure on stationery and postage.
Many of the expense claims and supporting receipts feature large blacked out areas where it’s not always clear what has been obscured or why.
The list does not include the addresses of MPs’ homes, which means it’s virtually impossible to identify so-called flipping – where MPs switch the designation of their second properties to maximise their claims and avoid paying capital gains tax.
Also blanked out are the details of people and companies to whom payments were made using expenses and correspondence between MPs and the Commons Fees Office have also been removed.
But despite this cover up it seems our local MPs have well and truly had their snouts in the trough, CLICK HERE for details of Jarrow MP, Stephen Hepburn’s expenses and HERE for details South Shields MP, David Miliband’s claims.