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Sleaze: MPs rent out their own homes and then claim expenses

The sleaze allegations engulfing the government have moved to those MPs letting out their London homes while claiming money from taxpayers for themselves renting accommodation elsewhere in the capital.

Over the weekend The Times named 14 MPs which it accused of renting homes using a parliamentary expenses scheme loophole.

This means the MPs get an additional ‘side hustle’ income of £10,000 or more a year, while at the same time claiming to rent property close to the Houses of Parliament.

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Former attorney general Sir Geoffrey Cox - facing criticism over earning some £1m annually as a lawyer in addition to being an MP - has been letting his Battersea home since 2017, renting another London flat for £1,900 per month.

Others include former cabinet ministers John Whittingdale and Liam Fox, former minister Robert Goodwill and Conservative backbenchers including Philip Davies.

The Parliamentary expenses regulator, there Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). is quoted in The Times as saying in a statement that even though there is a “perception of personal gain”, it cannot oblige MPs live in their own homes.

The loophole was formed in 2010 when Ipsa banned MPs from claiming mortgage interest payments on the expenses scheme.

Meanwhile a separate investigation by The Independent online newspaper says some 17 landlord MPs - 15 Tories and two Labour - have put their housing costs on expenses while earning more than £10,000 a year each renting out their own properties in recent years.

These include international trade secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, defence secretary Ben Wallace, Foreign Office minister James Cleverly, prisons minister Victoria Atkins and junior Treasury minister John Glen.

Conservative backbencher Damian Collins has the single largest rent expenses submission, claiming just over £148,000 from the taxpayer over the past five years, all while taking in a personal rental income from property in London.

 

Labour MP Geraint Davies has claimed just over £67,000 in taxpayer funding to rent a home between November 2017 and April 2021 – a period during which he also collecting rent payments letting out residential a property he owns in the capital.

And Clive Betts, another Labour backbencher, claimed just over £44,000 for rent between April 2016 and June 2018, the same period he also claimed rental income on a London home.

MPs have not been eligible to claim expenses for mortgage payments on second homes in London since 2010 - ironically when such claims were banned following the previous year’s expenses scandal.

However, MPs can claim taxpayer funding for “rental payments and associated costs” according to IPSA.

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  • George Dawes

    Maybe guy Fawkes wasn’t such a bad guy after all ?

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    Rules for thee but not for me. Legalised theft at its best. So my 5 figure tax bill just goes straight into the pockets of these. I have no time for Angela Rayner but her famous comment rings in my ear when I read this!

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    If an MP represents a distant constituency then it's legitimate to claim expenses whilst living in London.

    I always thought it was stupid to ban them from claiming mortgage interest where that was lower than market rents.

    It's really irrelevant whether they rent out other properties in London or elsewhere - but it might just let some of them understand the issues faced by private landlords which must be a good thing.

    One thing that the lefties don't understand is that many people have several jobs, because they are willing to work more than 35 hours a week. Personally I would prefer to be represented by an MP who is also deemed to be worth employing in the private sector than a wet behind the ears career politician with no experience of working or living in the real world.

  • PossessionFriendUK PossessionFriend

    Hypocrites, the lot of them.
    Bent as a butchers hook.

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    why not if mps rent out their own home then they can only claim half of their rent from the public , for their new accommodation in near parliament wich must not be owned by one of their own pals of family mebers.
    But in sure they'll find a way round this as well.

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    Why should anyone not be allowed rent out any property they own and keep the full proceeds, after paying appropriate costs and tax?

    Why prevent anyone from renting a property from anyone else, even a relative, if they need one and are allowed to claim for it under current rules ?

    Provided market rents are charged and all rules obeyed, what is wrong with an MP legitimately investing in any property anywhere and renting out other property as and when needed to perform their duties either in London or their constituency?

    What is stupid and a waste of public money is that they are allowed to claim market rents on a rental property but not the (probably much) lower mortgage interest on an otherwise suitably located property in London or their constituency.

    The opposite route should have been taken with MP's encouraged to buy a London property on a repayment mortgage and stop claiming interest when it was fully paid off, with the profit on resale (when they leave Parliament) going back to the tax payer.
    However that would require public "servants" and envious lefties to think like business people and look at the bigger longer term picture!

     
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