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Twenty MP's pocket up to £180,000 each on taxpayer-funded secind homes

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Twenty MP's pocket up to £180,000 each on taxpayer-funded secind homes

Post  Panda on Fri 10 May - 9:50

Twenty MPs pocket up to £180,000 each on taxpayer-funded second homes


Almost 20 ministers and MPs have pocketed up to £180,000 each after selling
their taxpayer-funded second homes for a profit.









David Gauke, the Tory Exchequer
Secretary, made a £67,000 profit from the sale of his flat in Kennington, south
London, but has only been asked to repay £26,762. Photo: REX
FEATURES





By Steven Swinford, and Rowena
Mason

9:50PM BST 09 May 2013


364 Comments




The MPs have jointly made more than £1 million by selling their second homes,
and under parliamentary rules they are entitled to keep the money.


The scale of their windfall was disclosed for the first time in figures
released by the parliamentary watchdog today, and prompted accusations that MPs
were making a personal profit from taxpayers' money.


Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, handed all the profit he made on the
sale of his second home to House of Commons authorities in 2011.


Sources close to Mr Clegg said the Liberal Democrat leader believed it was
the "right thing to do", although it is largely up to MPs to decide whether they
want to do the same.


Martin Bell, the former MP who has campaigned for greater transparency, said
that MPs should repay any profit they make on the properties.



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He said: "It's an open and shut case, of course they should pay it back.
There is the spirit of the law, why are they making a personal profit from
allowances which they receive from the taxpayer? In this case they very clearly
are." However one MP said that as he was not required to pay the money back he
would not be doing so. Another said that she had used the money to reduce the
mortgage on her family home, while a third said he was investing his profit for
his grandchildren.

A total of 29 MPs have been asked to repay profits made since 2010, under new
rules that came into effect after the expenses scandal, according to figures
published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority.

Only one of them, Stewart Jackson, a Conservative MP, refused to repay the
money. He is now being sued by the expenses watchdog for the £54,000.

He disputes the claim and says Ipsa has been "heavy handed". He also claims
that his property has actually fallen in value since he bought it.

Under the previous expenses regime MPs were able to claim mortgage payments,
furnishings, stamp duty, legal fees and other costs on their second homes.

Following the formation of Ipsa in May 2010, the watchdog moved to ban the
use of Commons expenses to pay mortgage interest, in the wake of public fury
over the expenses scandal.

Transitional arrangements meant MPs elected before 2010 could keep claiming
the money until last August as long as they agreed to return any profits they
made if they sold a taxpayer funded residence. The rules state MPs are only
required to hand back profits made on their properties between May 2010 and
August 2012.

The requirement means that MPs whose homes have been funded by the taxpayer
for years have to return only a small amount of the profit. Ipsa today disclosed
that a total of 19 MPs sold their homes between 2010 and 2012.

David Gauke, the Tory Exchequer Secretary, made a £67,000 profit from the
sale of his flat in Kennington, south London, but has only been asked to repay
£26,762.

His main home is in Chorleywood, Herts, which is a 45-minute commute to
London. Mr Gauke bought his Kennington flat in 2007 for £285,000, and claimed
more than £13,000 in mortgage interest between 2010 and 2012.

He sold the flat in August last year for £352,000. A spokesman said he had
"abided by the rules" at all times. Mr Gauke previously said it was "morally
wrong" to pay tradesmen cash-in-hand.

Lorely Burt, chair manof the Liberal Democrat parliamentary party, has
claimed expenses against her flat in Victoria, central London, since she bought
it for £380,000 in 2005.

She sold the property for £560,000 in 2010, having made a £180,000 profit.
She has not been asked to pay any of the money back to Ipsa, because the profit
did not relate to the 2010-12 period.

She said her decision to keep the repayment was within the rules and
justified by the "large amount" of her own money she spent buying the property.
Mrs Burt said she used the profit to reduce the mortgage of her family home in
Solihull.

She said the mortgage repayments were the cheaper than the cost of the hotel
she now stays in while in London.

Malcolm Bruce, a Liberal Democrat MP, made £111,000 on the sale of his home
in Kennington, south London, in 2010, and has not been required to pay any of
the money back.

He said: "I'm not required [to give it back]. I paid the capital gains tax
and that's the end of it. I also invested a lot of my own money over the 20 odd
years."

Ronnie Campbell, a Labour MP, made £90,000 on the sale of his Kennington flat
in 2011.

"I have invested it for my grandkids. That [money] is mine, that's mine, I
put a £15,000 deposit down on that flat. We did make a profit, properties do go
up [in value], but it's mine."

He said that his mortgage payments were signicantly cheaper to the taxpayer
than renting a flat, as he does now. He said: "By throwing me out on the British
streets like a dog in the night, the taxpayer has lost a lot of money.

Angela Smith, shadow deputy leader of the house, made a £170,000 profit and
was asked to repay just £8,496. She said she had "co-operated fully with the
IPSA" and "repaid monies without question or delay".

Hazel Blears, Labour MP for Salford and a former Cabinet minister, made a
£120,000 profit when she sold her London home for £420,000 in 2010.

She said she had only claimed against the property for six months and had
paid £13,000 in capital gains tax which she did not need to.

Alan Whitehead, another Labour MP, made an £89,400 profit when he sold his
London home last year. He said he had put a large amount of his own money into
the property and that the mortgage had been 50 per cent of the purchase price.


He said: "By the time we entered into the age of IPSA, the mortgage was 21
per cent of the value of the property, and the [capital gains] repayment
reflected that."

All of the MPs would have been expected to pay capital gains tax on the
sales.

==========================================
This really is disgraceful when Benefit Frauds are being hounded.!!!!!
The best way out of this is for the Government to pay Hotel expenses for those MP's who live too far away to attend meetings. Bearing in mind that Parliament only sits twice a week and with the long Holidays totalling over 3 months of the year it would be far cheaper .

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Re: Twenty MP's pocket up to £180,000 each on taxpayer-funded secind homes

Post  Panda on Fri 10 May - 9:53

Expenses watchdog sues Tory MP over second home


Stewart Jackson, a Conservative MP, is being sued by the expenses watchdog
after refusing to pay £54,000 in "capital gains" profits on his taxpayer-funded
second home.









Stewart Jackson says that his
home in Peterborough has actually fallen in value since he brought it for
£470,000 in December 2005 Photo: John
Robertson





By Steven Swinford, Senior Political
Correspondent

12:00PM BST 09 May 2013





In an unprecedented action, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
(Ipsa) has issued proceedings at the High Court to recover the money.


Mr Jackson says that his home in Peterborough has actually fallen in value
since he brought it for £470,000 in December 2005.


However, Ipsa had the property valued by a member of the Royal Institute of
Chartered Surveyors, who found that the value of the property rose by £54,000
between May 2010 and August 2012.


Mr Jackson, who claimed £32,000 in mortgage interest payments on his expenses
during that period, described the actions as "heavy handed, disproportionate and
intended to bully me into submission".


He said: "At my own expense, I have paid for an accurate recent expert
valuation and I have made a reasonable offer to IPSA to settle the matter and
reduce the legal costs which will have to be met by the taxpayer.



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"My valuation recognises the need for proper recompense to be paid to the
taxpayer to reflect their support for my housing costs between 2010 and 2012, in
order to fulfill my duties as both a London based legislator and a constituency
MP.

"I am merely seeking fair play and consistency and will pursue legal action
to receive it.”

A spokesman for Ipsa said: "One of the most damaging aspects of the expenses
scandal was the practice where MPs got taxpayer support to own a second home.


"That is why we said we would stop this, and we have now done so. The final
stage in bringing this to an end was our allowing a short transition period for
MPs who were already committed to second mortgages.

"“In Stewart Jackson’s case, we have issued proceedings to recover the sum
through the High Court."

MPs have been asked to hand back almost £500,000 worth of profits from
taxpayer-funded homes.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) announced that 70
politicians have agreed to repay the sums, ranging from a few hundred pounds in
some cases to the £81,446 paid by Tory MP for Clwyd West David Jones and the
£61,403 returned by DUP East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell - both for
properties in London.

The watchdog moved to ban the use of Commons expenses to pay mortgage
interest in May 2010, in the wake of public fury over "flipping" and other
abuses.

However, transitional arrangements were put in place permitting MPs elected
before 2010 to keep claiming the money up to last August - as long as they
agreed to return any potential capital gain.

Some 71 members received around £1 million in allowances for mortgage
interest during the period.

The properties were formally valued at the beginning and the end, and the MPs
were given until November 30 to return a proportion of any gain.

Ipsa said it would consider a longer repayment schedule - possibly extending
to 2015 - if returning cash quickly would "create hardship".

But the process was delayed when a number of MPs signalled that they were
considering a legal challenge on the grounds that the watchdog had overstepped
its powers.

Repayment deals have now been struck with 70 of the MPs, with only Mr
Jackson's case still to be settled.

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