One of our readers – “Temple Way Resident” – left a long comment about Mark Francois’ expenses on a previous post.
We think it’s worth treating as a separate item and so we are showing it below.
Fo what it’s worth – we (in this case Chris Ron and Jackie) think that considering the late night sittings that they have in the Commons that it’s quite reasonable for Mark Francois to rent a flat in Westminster.
However, TWR asks about a lot more than that.
Now, we know that our local Conservatives read onlinefocus. In this case perhaps Mark Francois would like to clarify things himself and leave a comment here. He will know that he will get a fair hearing here and there’ll be some thoughtful debate.
So it’s over to you Mark on this one.
” Chris, there IS a local angle here which seems to have been convieniently ignored by the Torygraph newspaper sofar…You can not and should not ignore it either even if it does make you feel uncomfortable.
Our Right Honourable member for Rayleigh claims (excuse the unintended pun)in The Echo that he only rents a flat in London… very commendable some may think?
Westminster is less than 40 miles from his home address in Rayleigh so why would one need a 2nd home? Many of his constituents travel to work in London on a daily basis and do not have 2nd homes AND have to pay their own “expenses”…
Which leads me nicely to his annual travelling expenses for 2007/2008 as stated on:-
* Regular journeys between home/constituency/Westminster: Mileage £640 (548th). Rail £5,319 (173rd).
Please somebody remind me how much a rail season ticket is between Rayleigh and Westminster tube station? I can’t afford the standard return fare and find it actually cheaper to drive in 40 miles each way and pay the Congestion Charge!
I’d be interested to learn how he spends in one year:-
Additional Costs Allowance £20,689 (368th) – Presumably the aformentioned flat rental, utilities, furnishing etc…?
Incidental Expenses Provision £11,739 (550th) – Presumably food?
Staffing Allowance £88,842 (282nd) – Who does he employ?
Centrally Provided Computer Equipment £1,490 (joint 19th) – interesting to note that this expense is a regular annual feature!
As a Public Servant who formaly worked in London on “Detached Duty” from my job in the North of England I was formally entitled to “expenses” from the public purse HOWEVER these consisted and were tightly restricted to:-
1) Rent for a basic 1 bedroomed furnished flat capped at a local market rate.
2) Utility bills and Council tax (reduced by 50% as this was judged to be my second home) – despite the fact that I only actually got “home” to my house in the North of England for about 36 hours per month (late Friday night to Sunday lunch time)
3) £5 Incidentals allowance per day.
4) Standard class rail fare to/from my main home once a month.
These “allowances” were all TAXABLE and only payable on the understanding that I had a “double commitment” i.e. that I had a mortgage and bills to pay at my “home” address in the North.
It beggars believe that MP’s working for the same public that I worked for have such grossly extravagant expenses which are also TAX FREE! I am extremely angry about this.
In the end sheer fatigue eventually caught up with me and I elected to move to Essex – at my own expense… For exactly the same salary and tripled my mortgage. I now commute into London on a daily basis again at my own expense obviously. Please tell me why on earth the rules that I had to abide by and were strictly regulated by HMRC are not also used by MP’s? Why are they above the law? Why are their bloated allownaces tax free?
Politicians thus far still don’t appear to appreciate the seriousness of this crisis despite their mealy mouthed apologies. Ordianary people are jailed for less. Theft from the public purse should be treated seriously as the fraud that it is. I agree Chris that we shouldn’t (just) be debating it we should be ensuring that legal action is taken…”