Friday, 19 June 2009

Payback time?

I'm absolutely astounded at the news that MPs have paid back nearly half a million pounds, for expenses they shouldn't have claimed. That's even MPs, that's 182 of them.

According to the BBC:

The figures published by the Commons Members Estimate Committee on Thursday also reveal that Barbara Follett - the tourism minister - has repaid £32,976.

It is one of the largest single sums repaid by any MP - the largest is £41,709 by care services minister Phil Hope, who had already publicised the fact he was repaying it in the light of constituents' anger.

Ms Follett, married to best selling author Ken Follett, had defended claiming £25, 411 for security patrols at her London home after she was mugged, saying it was within the rules.

The figures also show for the first time, that cabinet minister Douglas Alexander has repaid more than £12,000.

My own expenses in the Council for last year totalled £1,058.50. I have just enough money in the bank to pay that back if I had to. I can't get my head around people signing over cheques for thousands of pounds as if they were paying for their weekly messages. Is this what real, grown ups can do in their life? Or is it just certain MPs who have been creaming off money from the state for all these years?

My expenses in the Council were for telephone bills - £310.58 for the year - and an annual zonecard - £748.00. I was given the option of a zonecard or a parking space in the City Chambers. I don't think it's fair that while other workers have to pay a premium for city centre parking, we get it for nothing. I also haven't claimed for mileage or taxis.

So you can get a bit of a comparison, I've listed my expenses alongside my ward colleagues.

NAMESimpson, Ruth*Redmond, George**Thewliss, Alison
TELEPHONE & ICT£505.91£514.88£310.58
TOTAL EXPENSES£4,681.07£1,160.71£1,058.58

*Executive Member for Land & Environment/Councillor (wef March 2009)
**Planning Committee Convenor/Executive Member for Health & Wellbeing (wef March 2009)

PS - sorry, no idea why that's jumped down the page. Thought I was doing well Html-ing myself a table!


JoeJag said...

You have a closing DIV tag after the table which is messing with it. You don't need the BR between table elements either.

Pretty table otherwise :)

Yousuf Hamid said...

do councillors not get a communication allowance for sending out letters?

BellgroveBelle said...

Thank you dear!

Yousuf - letters don't get counted an allowance in the Council. We don't have our own personal paper, envelopes and such either, these are held centrally by the secretaries. Letters go out in the Council franked envelopes.

joe90 kane said...

Excellent post BB.

What a pity those who are sick, unemployed, live in deprived areas, or live in poverty aren't treated to the same standards of indulgence of the Westmidden fraudsters and benefit thieves.

I have heard from various BBC propaganda outlets that only a few MPs are abusing the system. Most MPs are hard-working, conscienscious etc etc, and it's a pity they have been tainted by few bad apples.

I only wish the sick, unemployed and poverty ridden were treated to such compassionate understanding by the lackeys of the British establishment.

If it isn't faied and incompetent financial experts and bankers sponging hundrereds of billions of pounds off taxpayers - then its the corrupt politicians at Westmidden who made such neoliberal-Washington Consensus market de-regulation which allowed such vast financial corruption and incompetence to flourish unchecked.

Indeed, PM Gordon Brown was Chancellor for 10 years and, far from refroming the financial sytem, did all he could to make sure there was no government oversight and monitoring.

Unlike poor taxpayers on benefits, who now live in something closely resembling an open prison, such is the level of monitoring and interrogation poor citizens are now subjected to via the British Government's Department of Works and Pensions recently instituted welfare reforms.

If benefit recipients of Garthamlock or Dennistoun in Glasgow's East End, don't declare a change of circumstances, or make a false claim (even innocently which is easy to do such is the welter of paperwork that comes with being poor and vulnerable in the the Thatcherite-New Labour utopia) then they are treated as criminals and charged.

No such fate awaits the fraudsters of Westmidden or the financial city of Westminister's square mile.

sorry for going on

all the best BB

I loved this from today's business section of our local newspaper for adults -
‘If the private sector had seen abuse on the scale of Westminster it would have led to criminal charges’
COMMENT: David Watt
Sunday Herald
21 June 2009

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at these corporate journalist attempts to whitewash the vast pay-outs and bonuses bosses awarded to themselves for their utter economic incompetence which the taxpayers have had to step in and sort out at vast expense aka the misnamed 'credit crunch'

joe90 kane said...

I see the scourge of pregnant welfare scroungers everywhere, Tom Harris MP, has tried to claim expenses on baby accountrements -
The former transport minister got involved in a row with the fees office over claims he made for a baby cot and steriliser at his second home in London.
MPs' expenses: Tom Harris

Tom Harris MP defended his claims thus,
"MPs by necessity have to own two of almost everything".

I quite agree.
Double standards and hypocrisy seems to be de riguer for New Labour spongers who migrate south to the trough at Westmidden whilst slagging off the less better-off at home.

Ted Harvey said...

BellgroveBelle, first you excited my natural tendency to paranoia, then to laugh out loud enjoyment.

You see, I read your post down to "I've listed my expenses alongside my ward colleagues"... then... nothing... just a big blank... and I thought "Aha anither wan ae they hypocrits, first she says she'll dae it then it's blanked oot"

Yes I laughed indeed - whether at your gap and then the data, or at my own wee paranoia, I'm not sure :-)

BellgroveBelle said...

Joe has now helped me fix the table. Woo.