Another Labour MP has been ‘rumbled’ after claiming around £60,000 in expenses for his ‘second home’, which actually turns out to be where his parents live.
The Additional Costs Allowance is worth up to £24,000 a year and MPs can claim ACA on the mortgage interest payments on a second home.
Employment Minister Tony McNulty, who lives with his wife in a house she owns and which is only three miles from Westminster, has now apparently decided to stop claiming the allowance. Furthermore, he is now advocating that all MP’s who live within 60 miles of the capital should be forced to commute like any other worker. A complete u-turn.
Probably totally coincidental that McNulty is being tipped as a candidate for Mayor of London in 2012.
McNulty’s proposals, however, seem to have gone down like a lead balloon with many Labour MP’s, as one might expect.
According to the Daily Mail, Crawley MP Laura Moffatt said:
‘It doesn’t affect me because I don’t have a second home.’
Asked how she squared that with her claim of £61,457 between 2002/03 and 2006/07, she apparently hung up.
Another MP, understandably wishing to remain anonymous, is quoted as saying:
Just because Tony McNulty has been rumbled does not give him the right to lecture those of us who need the money.
One could argue that, as with any benefits system, provided the claimants are acting within the rules and the law, then they have every right to claim, even if they push those rules to their limits.
One could also argue that such benefits should not have been introduced in the first place or should have been formulated in such a way as to correspond to need rather than being available to anyone, regardless of their financial position. Stricter control and scrutiny is obviously necessary.
Perks, bonuses, dubious pension deals, benefits, expenses…they’re all readily available and can you really blame anyone for (legally) claiming whatever is available in this ‘feather your own nest’ society where money rules the roost? The only thing one would like to hope is that those elected to power would set an example by behaving in a more moral and ethical manner, but that’s a rather forlorn hope.