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Should MP’s be allowed to claim more in housing costs than those on Local Housing Allowance?

Yes
No

Author Topic: How Much Should an MP’s be Allowed to Claim for Housing?  (Read 1926 times)

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Offline Bogomil

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How Much Should an MP’s be Allowed to Claim for Housing?
« on: December 03, 2010, 10:59:23 pm »
Read with interest the information published today by Ipsa

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/8719695.New_MPs_keeping_claims_in_check/

Quote
A breakdown shows Mr Tomlinson claimed for rent each month at £924
Quote
Mr Tomlinson said: “As a new MP I am determined to play my part in restoring faith in politics after the disgraceful actions of many former MPs.
“I do not claim for food, mobile phones, travel in Swindon or London, political websites or newsletters.
“In addition to save further money I have shared staff and office and second-hand furniture, travel super saver return and share a flat in Westminster with two other MPs.

I have read that Local Housing Allowance for a 3 bed property is being capped at £340 so do TS’er consider the £2772 (3x£924) being claimed by our MP Justin Tomlinson and, presumably, his two flat mates to be excessive?

Personally I’ve always thought what’s good for the Goose is also good for the Gander, so maybe MP’s should be capped at the same rate and subject to the same rules as those on benefits.

Offline Mellon

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Re: How Much Should an MP’s be Allowed to Claim for Housing?
« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2010, 12:18:52 am »
Depends what agreement justin has with his flat-mates, they may be taking it in turn for 3 month payments, seeing as he has only claimed for 3 months rather than 6 suggests this is possible, with a 9 month rotation Justin is actually saving north swindon taxpayers £5,544 the equivalent to 6 months free rent. So I wouldn't really say that's excessive compared to some of the past examples.......would you?
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Offline moley

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Re: How Much Should an MP’s be Allowed to Claim for Housing?
« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2010, 12:34:40 am »
are you mixing up weekly and monthly payments?  I think the limit for housing benefit is a weekly limit, and what our MPs are claiming is a monthly charge??

Offline 20Eyes

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Re: How Much Should an MP’s be Allowed to Claim for Housing?
« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2010, 07:44:28 am »
£924 per month for rent in London is very cheap.

In a similar vein to your question, maybe those on Housing Benefit should be required to share renting their property with two other Housing Benefit recipients, to keep costs down, much like our MP does? After all, what’s good for the Goose is also good for the Gander.
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Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: How Much Should an MP’s be Allowed to Claim for Housing?
« Reply #4 on: December 04, 2010, 08:31:52 am »
Fairly interesting as the headline story is that Justin Tomlinson MP  Claims £4,003.52 in comparisons to Robert Buckland MP at £1,670,47.  The facts demonstrate that Robert Buckland MP  claimed less I am not going to grumble at that. It is good to see that Robert costs us taxpayers less than other MPs do.

I noticed that neither MP claimed for professional fees, which when I checked on other Conservative MPs expenses there was a charge of £2,408.75 which was common to them. I wonder exactly what professional fees means and why £2,408.75 appears on there? I will do some more digging. (Any possibility of a digging smiley?)
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Offline Muggins

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Re: How Much Should an MP’s be Allowed to Claim for Housing?
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2010, 08:42:59 am »
Someone made the point that the cost of renting a flat in Westminster is jolly expensive. I don't expect Justin to live in a tent or a council flat, it's not what he's used to, he'd never cope!  So long as he is open and honest and can produce the receipts etc.

Most likely those claiming housing benefit already are sharing their accommodation - with their family!  And be careful here with those prejudices, not every one on housing benefit is a single parent, long term unemployed, oik.




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Offline Mart

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Re: How Much Should an MP’s be Allowed to Claim for Housing?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2010, 09:30:06 am »
Someone made the point that the cost of renting a flat in Westminster is jolly expensive.

Then go rent in Watford.

I still favour the residential hall idea, shared resources etc
Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.

Offline Muggins

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Re: How Much Should an MP’s be Allowed to Claim for Housing?
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2010, 09:34:42 am »
Was watching a programme yesterday and the chappy was stood in front of the most ugly twenty storey type clock of flats, (could only have been on a council estate, no one else would have put up with the eyesore) and he was saying that is where some of the MP rents flats.

It was pretty close to Westminster and I take your point about living further out, but would that not be more expensive than renting here anyway and would not the traveling take up more expenses?

We could help him out by finding him something cheaper and just as convenient.
Lifes not always fair. Sometimes you can get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow. - Cherralea Morgen

Offline Bogomil

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Re: How Much Should an MP’s be Allowed to Claim for Housing?
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2010, 10:36:18 am »
are you mixing up weekly and monthly payments?  I think the limit for housing benefit is a weekly limit, and what our MPs are claiming is a monthly charge??
Taken as a monthly figure the cap on local housing allowance for a 3 bed property is still £1473. With 3 sharing that’s £491, still £432 less that what our MP is allowed to claim.

Depends what agreement justin has with his flat-mates, they may be taking it in turn for 3 month payments, seeing as he has only claimed for 3 months rather than 6 suggests this is possible, with a 9 month rotation Justin is actually saving north swindon taxpayers £5,544 the equivalent to 6 months free rent. So I wouldn't really say that's excessive compared to some of the past examples.......would you?
I think you’ll find this is down to when expense claims are submitted rather than them taking it in turns to pay 3 months at a time.

Someone made the point that the cost of renting a flat in Westminster is jolly expensive. I don't expect Justin to live in a tent or a council flat
And as an MP neither would I expect it either. But within London there are far cheaper places to live than Westminster (where I have no doubt the prices will be higher due to its location in any case)
Public transport in London is excellent and in some areas runs all through the night.

There is no reason why a cheaper property can’t be rented south of the river in say Vauxhall or Bermondsey etc.

A quick search easily provided me with the averages for rental prices in London, with Westminster being at least £500 pm above other areas.
http://www.net-lettings.co.uk/

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: How Much Should an MP’s be Allowed to Claim for Housing?
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2010, 11:30:21 am »
The rent allowance for MPs is £1,400 per month or £323 per week. If Justin is claiming less surely that's good?  I know he is sharing with two other MPs so they might jointly be paying £2,700 a month for a better grade of accommodation - are we really worried given that the three could legitimately claim a total of £4,200, effectively we have a 'buy two get one free' deal which is pretty smart.

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: How Much Should an MP’s be Allowed to Claim for Housing?
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2010, 12:34:16 pm »
The rent allowance for MPs is £1,400 per month or £323 per week. If Justin is claiming less surely that's good?  I know he is sharing with two other MPs so they might jointly be paying £2,700 a month for a better grade of accommodation - are we really worried given that the three could legitimately claim a total of £4,200, effectively we have a 'buy two get one free' deal which is pretty smart.

That is one point of view and I do not begrudge any claims but Swindon has since 1843 been connected to london via rail and it only costs £39 quid to travel as per the MPs claims, so why stay overnight? If Justin was a Minister as ministers are expected to stay in London, then I accept what you say. Many people commute to London daily some from as far away as Kemble and Great Bedwyn I even heard someone say they commuted daily from Wales and that is another country! Swindon has 4 trains an hour and is a better service than many other towns have, the train operator says  that all the time.
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Offline moley

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Re: How Much Should an MP’s be Allowed to Claim for Housing?
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2010, 12:38:28 pm »
Steve

I guess the difference with a normal job is that does parliament not still sit in the evenings?

(my memory is that the wifi adjournment debate was fairly late in the evening) - and the frequency of trains does drop in the evening...

Moley

Offline 20Eyes

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Re: How Much Should an MP’s be Allowed to Claim for Housing?
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2010, 12:49:01 pm »
Most likely those claiming housing benefit already are sharing their accommodation - with their family!  And be careful here with those prejudices, not every one on housing benefit is a single parent, long term unemployed, oik.

Rather oddly reads as if you don't think single parents living with their children constitutes a family.

I don't really think that getting your family house with you for free can be considered 'sharing' the property in the same way as living with two people that are unrelated to you could be.

Given some of the ridiculously large sums of money handed to some housing benefit recipients, the costs of housing our MPs appears to be quite the bargain.
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Offline 20Eyes

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Re: How Much Should an MP’s be Allowed to Claim for Housing?
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2010, 12:49:47 pm »
Anyone know if Justin or Robert have claimed for as many free flat screen TVs as Snelgrove did?
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Offline Mellon

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Re: How Much Should an MP’s be Allowed to Claim for Housing?
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2010, 01:49:49 pm »

Depends what agreement justin has with his flat-mates, they may be taking it in turn for 3 month payments, seeing as he has only claimed for 3 months rather than 6 suggests this is possible, with a 9 month rotation Justin is actually saving north swindon taxpayers £5,544 the equivalent to 6 months free rent. So I wouldn't really say that's excessive compared to some of the past examples.......would you?
I think you’ll find this is down to when expense claims are submitted rather than them taking it in turns to pay 3 months at a time.


eh?

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Offline Des Morgan

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Re: How Much Should an MP’s be Allowed to Claim for Housing?
« Reply #15 on: December 04, 2010, 04:14:20 pm »
 
Quote
so why stay overnight

I worked in West Bromwich for 16 years - drove up every day and drove home every night.  I spent 3 hours a day in the car.  Si I suppose I can see your point Steve, however, Justin is cannon fodder when it comes to the voting rules and the Whips would fry him alive if he wasn't in the house or within sound of the division bell when a vote was called. One vote this week didn't take place until 10.00pm

 

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