£134,565 a year still not enough for greedy MPs

Wed, 14/11/2012 - 15:00
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Dozens of greedy MPs were caught with their hands in the till recently, claiming rent on expenses while letting out their own London homes.

Disgraced former defence secretary Liam Fox, Communities Minister Don Foster, and Labour frontbenchers Andy Burnham, Jim Murphy and Chris Bryant are amongst those wrapped up in the rent racket.

MPs can claim up to £20,000 a year for London accommodation.
But the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) said it didn't break the rules.

It's similar to the now-outlawed practice of claiming for mortgage repayments on barely used second homes, which shadow chancellor Ed Balls and then home secretary Jacqui Smith were caught doing in 2009.
So who are these greedy MPs?

Research by the Press Association found that shadow ministers Andy Burnham and Chris Bryant, and Tory MPs David Amess and Liam Fox receive income from letting out flats in London while also claiming expenses for renting in the city.

The Telegraph also named former defence ministers Peter Luff and Sir Nick Harvey among the 27.
Remember, we are not talking about poor people here. The current annual salary for an MP is £65,738.

Cabinet ministers receive a salary of £134,565 (including their MP's salary).
Commons Speaker John Bercow has written to Ipsa urging it not to release official documents of MPs' landlords, claiming it could put politicians in danger.

Ipsa said it had received an FOI request for this information and was still considering how to respond.
Mr Bercow (who gets The Speaker's salary of £141,504) had to repay more than £6,000 in 2009 after being caught switching his "second home" to avoid capital gains tax on a series of property sales.

Ipsa chairman Sir Ian Kennedy insisted it "would not, under any circumstances, release the full address" of an MP.

The policy also makes clear that we would release, on request, the names of landlords and other suppliers of goods and services where this was in support of a claim made under the Scheme for Business Costs and Expenses."

Sir Ian said all affected MPs had been contacted, asking if they had concerns about the release of their landlord's details.

However, only a third - 110 - had replied.

Some 60 have indicated they have no problems with the disclosure, and 50 expressed reservations.

"We are therefore delaying our response to the FOI request and will be writing to those MPs concerned to give them a further two weeks to respond," he said.

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