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Expenses

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Constituency HQ & Second Home

What are they?

'Expenses' are an extremely subjective and difficult concept in these post-Credit Crunch/Freedom of Information days.

The Private Sector

In the private sector, expenses are sometimes paid to minions going about a companies' business where they incur a cost to themselves that can be applied to doing their job. All expenses claimed must be receipted and will be gone over by the companies HR/payroll departments to ensure that no fraud or attempted theft has been attempted.

High-ranking officials of a company will have the latitude to charge some quite large bills to the company, but mostly the rules on what can be charged will hold no matter the rank of the claimer. (Though this depends on the nature of the business. Lord Black of Crossharbour was aquitted of the charges of defrauding Hollinger by fiddling his expenses, but few of us can claim for the cost of the wife's birthday party or using the corporate jet for a private holiady in the South Seas!)

In theory, shareholders can keep the management honest about their expenses. In practice there are a whole raft of perks to enrich senior managers who sit on each others' remuneration committees and boards.

The Public Sector

The public sector has similar rules to the private sector but let's just say that a certain 'laxness' creeps in at higher levels. This means that councils can take 'fact finding' junkets to many wonderful places around the world with their wives and the Tax Payer picks up the tab. Sweet!

Government

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Beaks in troughs

In theory all expenses should be in support of representing the people and should be squeaky clean.

From the expenses Green Book:

  • "all claims should be "above reproach".
  • "members should avoid purchases which could be seen as extravagant or luxurious".

The problem is: the political class is both arrogant and blinkered and thinks itself above the little people. This resulted in MP's monitoring MP's with the obvious fallout. The motto under the UK Government crest on the expenses form is apparently 'FILL YOUR BOOTS!'

Now anything can be charged to the concept of 'expenses' no matter how bizarre including nappies, Pot Noodles, tampons, dog food, prams, kitchens, hundreds of plant pots, holiday home dry rot, toilet seats, multiple 40" plasma tv's, second house mortgage interest, cleaning bills for 3rd homes, fake tudor beams, new boilers for swimming pools, housekeepers, cleaning out your moat or having a duck island built [No I'm not kidding] ... you name it, it's chargeable as the MP's wrote the non-existent rules and virtually all will be waived through because the 'honourable members' are above reproach!

The good news is that according to a 'slightly' stressed MP, at least one vigorously troughing MP is expected to try the Bridgend Boogie (ie suicide). That MP whynged that the atmosphere in Westminster is 'completely unbearable' and the revelations had brought MPs to a point that was 'almost unbearable for any human being to deal with'. The pursuit of these honourable members was '... a McCarthyite witch-hunt'. [All I can say is HELL YEAH, SQUEAL PIGGY SQUEAL!]

Read all abaht it...

Snouts in Trough? Corruption? Fraud? Oh I think so!