Expenses scandal haunts British MPs, politicians

Expenses scandal haunts British MPs, politicians
# 17 November 2013 04:18 (UTC +04:00)

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) released the figures in what is described as the first time such details are made public.

Ipsa warned earlier this week that revelations would be “the disinfectant that hurts as it heals”, and campaigners labeled such expenses as “a back-door subsidy to political parties,” British media reported.

According to the report, a third of MPs and almost half of cabinet members, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the Conservative Education Secretary Michael Gove, are involved in the latest scandal.

MPs are allowed to rent offices from their political parties, but shocking figures indicated that politicians both claimed extra cash for the office in their constituency, and gave the cash to their own party for space at their local HQ. This is where cheating the legal loopholes emerge.

Ipsa said that “on average the costs of leases from political parties were noticeably higher than those from independent landlords - at £14,886 as opposed to £14,156.”

Jonathan Isaby, from the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “It’s one thing if a local political party offers their MP free use of a desk or office, but quite another for it to be sending taxpayers an annual invoice for thousands of pounds.”

“Often this is space that would not in any case be available to anyone else on commercial terms,” added Isaby.

Jonathan Isaby also described the practice of MPs renting space from those who also donate money to the MP or their party as an issue that needs serious consideration.

“It's effectively a back-door subsidy to political parties that is exploiting an allowance meant to assist MPs in their work serving their constituents, not boost the coffers of their re-election campaign,” noted Isaby from the Taxpayers’ Alliance.

British lawmakers and politicians are accused of pocketing extra taxpayers’ money to their own advantage.

Earlier this week, it was disclosed that millionaire Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi, 46, was receiving taxpayers’ cash to heat his stables. Zahawi, MP for Stratford-upon-Avon, is a close ally of Prime Minister David Cameron.

This comes as a new survey indicated that eight out of 10 British households will be forced to ration their energy this winter.

Other reports had it that almost 200 pensioners a day could die because they can’t afford to heat their homes.