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Labour chief claimed £40,000 expenses to rent house next door

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    EssexphilEssexphil Member Posts: 8,406
    edited May 17
    HAYSIE said:

    Essexphil said:

    HAYSIE said:

    Essexphil said:

    Newspapers and other media have become very adept at making FOI requests. Particularly in relation to Public money, where it is really easy. Obviously I cannot go into detail, but I have been on both sides of those

    I guarantee that the direct questions have been put to IPSA, saying:-

    1. Have MPs asked whether it is permissible to rent out owned previous London or Constituency residence and claim rent for a separate Residence as Tenant?
    2. What would be your answer in that instance?
    3. Do you believe that it is morally ok to act in this way?

    The answer would have been something like:-

    1. Cannot go into individual cases, but yes
    2. There are ways that may lawfully be done. We have a dedicated team which sets out how and when that is possible
    3. We do not give moral advice. That is not part of our remit

    Newspapers do not print this. Because it doesn't sell newspapers

    I dont think that we are very good at making rules on times.
    The new rule will be counterproductive in some cases.
    That was the point Philip Davies was making.

    If they rent a property, they are able to reclaim all the costs, rent, council tax, utilities etc.
    If he, and his wife lived in their own home, they have to cover the mortgage plus the other costs.
    So he can rent a property for free, and rent out his own, covering all the costs for that property.
    So all the costs on both properties are covered
    Therefore in his, and similar cases, the new rule may have backfired.
    He, his wife, and others are therefore doing exactly what the rule was seeking to prevent.
    In cases like this it may have been cheaper for the taxpayer to continue to cover the mortgage.
    This is where we differ.

    You believe that the purpose of the Rule change was to stop people claiming Mortgage costs. Whereas I (and Parliament/IPSA) believe that the only reason for the rule change was to stop the perception of an MP "profiting" from the 2nd property, as opposed to the expensed Mortgage or equivalent itself. Newspapers, for their own political agendas, are misrepresenting what the new rule was trying to achieve.

    That's why Cabinet Ministers and other MPs took, and received, advice that what they were doing by renting out and renting the 2 properties was fine. The only aim was to have a degree of separation between payment and profit.

    Should that be the case? I have genuinely no idea
    Has this caused unnecessary problems for MPs? Undoubtedly.

    The decision-makers on this were thinking of themselves when this rule change came about. Not MPs. And not the taxpayer.
    When the story first broke, about half a dozen "experts", who are clearly much cleverer than me, said on the telly, that the purpose of the rule change was to prevent MPs building up a property portfolio, paid for by the taxpayer.
    I didnt make it up.
    "Experts" use words in such a way as to further their own agenda. Of course you didn't "make it up". You believed people whose agenda was to use words in a manner that was designed to give a misleading impression.

    So-for example-on 1 level it is true to say that the purpose of the rule change "was to prevent MPs building up a property portfolio paid for by the taxpayer". But that does not mean what newspapers wanted everyone to think it meant.

    People were told that Mortgage Interest was no longer to be claimed. But that Rent could be. And that the only thing that was changing was that. And MPs sought guidance as to whether it was OK to rent out an owned property, and claim rent on a similar one. And were told that is absolutely fine.

    Let's use that Labour MP as an example. Prior to the Rule Change he was claiming Mortgage Interest on 999 Letsby Avenue. And the authorities were writing cheques to the Mortgage Company for that address.

    Then, the week after the Rule Change, he sought guidance as to the admissibility of a Claim for Rent for 997 Letsby Avenue instead. And was told that was absolutely fine. And it was investigated in detail by a dedicated team.

    We're getting close to an Election. And newspapers, both on the Left and the Right have their own agendas. Just as true for the Left Wing papers claiming far more Tories have been doing this. The reason is simple-there are far more wealthy Tory MPs who bought a 2nd Property in London prior to the Rule change

    And won't let the truth get in the way of a good story.

    PS. As a rule of thumb, never believe any story that centres on the "moral" angle. Particularly when it comes to Tax. As I said countless times in the past, "morality" has no place in the UK legal system. The only Moral Courts are in countries like Iran.
  • Options
    HAYSIEHAYSIE Member Posts: 33,618
    Essexphil said:

    HAYSIE said:

    Essexphil said:

    HAYSIE said:

    Essexphil said:

    Newspapers and other media have become very adept at making FOI requests. Particularly in relation to Public money, where it is really easy. Obviously I cannot go into detail, but I have been on both sides of those

    I guarantee that the direct questions have been put to IPSA, saying:-

    1. Have MPs asked whether it is permissible to rent out owned previous London or Constituency residence and claim rent for a separate Residence as Tenant?
    2. What would be your answer in that instance?
    3. Do you believe that it is morally ok to act in this way?

    The answer would have been something like:-

    1. Cannot go into individual cases, but yes
    2. There are ways that may lawfully be done. We have a dedicated team which sets out how and when that is possible
    3. We do not give moral advice. That is not part of our remit

    Newspapers do not print this. Because it doesn't sell newspapers

    I dont think that we are very good at making rules on times.
    The new rule will be counterproductive in some cases.
    That was the point Philip Davies was making.

    If they rent a property, they are able to reclaim all the costs, rent, council tax, utilities etc.
    If he, and his wife lived in their own home, they have to cover the mortgage plus the other costs.
    So he can rent a property for free, and rent out his own, covering all the costs for that property.
    So all the costs on both properties are covered
    Therefore in his, and similar cases, the new rule may have backfired.
    He, his wife, and others are therefore doing exactly what the rule was seeking to prevent.
    In cases like this it may have been cheaper for the taxpayer to continue to cover the mortgage.
    This is where we differ.

    You believe that the purpose of the Rule change was to stop people claiming Mortgage costs. Whereas I (and Parliament/IPSA) believe that the only reason for the rule change was to stop the perception of an MP "profiting" from the 2nd property, as opposed to the expensed Mortgage or equivalent itself. Newspapers, for their own political agendas, are misrepresenting what the new rule was trying to achieve.

    That's why Cabinet Ministers and other MPs took, and received, advice that what they were doing by renting out and renting the 2 properties was fine. The only aim was to have a degree of separation between payment and profit.

    Should that be the case? I have genuinely no idea
    Has this caused unnecessary problems for MPs? Undoubtedly.

    The decision-makers on this were thinking of themselves when this rule change came about. Not MPs. And not the taxpayer.
    When the story first broke, about half a dozen "experts", who are clearly much cleverer than me, said on the telly, that the purpose of the rule change was to prevent MPs building up a property portfolio, paid for by the taxpayer.
    I didnt make it up.
    "Experts" use words in such a way as to further their own agenda. Of course you didn't "make it up". You believed people whose agenda was to use words in a manner that was designed to give a misleading impression.

    So-for example-on 1 level it is true to say that the purpose of the rule change "was to prevent MPs building up a property portfolio paid for by the taxpayer". But that does not mean what newspapers wanted everyone to think it meant.

    People were told that Mortgage Interest was no longer to be claimed. But that Rent could be. And that the only thing that was changing was that. And MPs sought guidance as to whether it was OK to rent out an owned property, and claim rent on a similar one. And were told that is absolutely fine.

    Let's use that Labour MP as an example. Prior to the Rule Change he was claiming Mortgage Interest on 999 Letsby Avenue. And the authorities were writing cheques to the Mortgage Company for that address.

    Then, the week after the Rule Change, he sought guidance as to the admissibility of a Claim for Rent for 997 Letsby Avenue instead. And was told that was absolutely fine. And it was investigated in detail by a dedicated team.

    We're getting close to an Election. And newspapers, both on the Left and the Right have their own agendas. Just as true for the Left Wing papers claiming far more Tories have been doing this. The reason is simple-there are far more wealthy Tory MPs who bought a 2nd Property in London prior to the Rule change

    And won't let the truth get in the way of a good story.

    PS. As a rule of thumb, never believe any story that centres on the "moral" angle. Particularly when it comes to Tax. As I said countless times in the past, "morality" has no place in the UK legal system. The only Moral Courts are in countries like Iran.
    I have no reason to doubt that explanation.
    I have no need to doubt the logic behind the rule change.
    I am a member of the public, and I can see that many of them would be galled by MPs building up a proerty portfolio, that was funded purely by the taxpayer.
    I dont know if it was true, but they were suggesting that many MPs had taken out interest only mortgages, so that the total mortgage cost was covered by the taxpayer.
    I dont know if this is true either, but it may well be that the MPs referred to in the Philip Davies/Esther McVey article, were all living in their London properties, until the rule change.
    They may have all followed the Davies/McVey example and began renting properties, fully funded at the tax payers expense.
    When I say fully funded, I mean that all their costs are covered.
    Where previously only the mortgage interest was being covered.

    Although the taxpayer can sleep soundly at night, in the knowledge that they are not any longer funding mortgages.
    They just fund all the costs of an alternative property, allowing those concerned to continue to build a property portfolio funded by the rent on their empty property.

    Not necessarily a good plan.
    It may be that very little has actually changed except for the details.

    The man in question has gained almost a million quid in equity since 2009.

    As I have said a number of times.
    He has operated within the rules, but many people, of which I am one, feel that what he has done was not within the sprit of the rules.
    One of these people is Sir Alistair Graham.



    Former chairman of the committee on standards in public life Sir Alistair Graham said the living arrangements were not in the "spirit" of expenses rules.

  • Options
    HAYSIEHAYSIE Member Posts: 33,618
    HAYSIE said:

    Essexphil said:

    HAYSIE said:

    Essexphil said:

    HAYSIE said:

    Essexphil said:

    Newspapers and other media have become very adept at making FOI requests. Particularly in relation to Public money, where it is really easy. Obviously I cannot go into detail, but I have been on both sides of those

    I guarantee that the direct questions have been put to IPSA, saying:-

    1. Have MPs asked whether it is permissible to rent out owned previous London or Constituency residence and claim rent for a separate Residence as Tenant?
    2. What would be your answer in that instance?
    3. Do you believe that it is morally ok to act in this way?

    The answer would have been something like:-

    1. Cannot go into individual cases, but yes
    2. There are ways that may lawfully be done. We have a dedicated team which sets out how and when that is possible
    3. We do not give moral advice. That is not part of our remit

    Newspapers do not print this. Because it doesn't sell newspapers

    I dont think that we are very good at making rules on times.
    The new rule will be counterproductive in some cases.
    That was the point Philip Davies was making.

    If they rent a property, they are able to reclaim all the costs, rent, council tax, utilities etc.
    If he, and his wife lived in their own home, they have to cover the mortgage plus the other costs.
    So he can rent a property for free, and rent out his own, covering all the costs for that property.
    So all the costs on both properties are covered
    Therefore in his, and similar cases, the new rule may have backfired.
    He, his wife, and others are therefore doing exactly what the rule was seeking to prevent.
    In cases like this it may have been cheaper for the taxpayer to continue to cover the mortgage.
    This is where we differ.

    You believe that the purpose of the Rule change was to stop people claiming Mortgage costs. Whereas I (and Parliament/IPSA) believe that the only reason for the rule change was to stop the perception of an MP "profiting" from the 2nd property, as opposed to the expensed Mortgage or equivalent itself. Newspapers, for their own political agendas, are misrepresenting what the new rule was trying to achieve.

    That's why Cabinet Ministers and other MPs took, and received, advice that what they were doing by renting out and renting the 2 properties was fine. The only aim was to have a degree of separation between payment and profit.

    Should that be the case? I have genuinely no idea
    Has this caused unnecessary problems for MPs? Undoubtedly.

    The decision-makers on this were thinking of themselves when this rule change came about. Not MPs. And not the taxpayer.
    When the story first broke, about half a dozen "experts", who are clearly much cleverer than me, said on the telly, that the purpose of the rule change was to prevent MPs building up a property portfolio, paid for by the taxpayer.
    I didnt make it up.
    "Experts" use words in such a way as to further their own agenda. Of course you didn't "make it up". You believed people whose agenda was to use words in a manner that was designed to give a misleading impression.

    So-for example-on 1 level it is true to say that the purpose of the rule change "was to prevent MPs building up a property portfolio paid for by the taxpayer". But that does not mean what newspapers wanted everyone to think it meant.

    People were told that Mortgage Interest was no longer to be claimed. But that Rent could be. And that the only thing that was changing was that. And MPs sought guidance as to whether it was OK to rent out an owned property, and claim rent on a similar one. And were told that is absolutely fine.

    Let's use that Labour MP as an example. Prior to the Rule Change he was claiming Mortgage Interest on 999 Letsby Avenue. And the authorities were writing cheques to the Mortgage Company for that address.

    Then, the week after the Rule Change, he sought guidance as to the admissibility of a Claim for Rent for 997 Letsby Avenue instead. And was told that was absolutely fine. And it was investigated in detail by a dedicated team.

    We're getting close to an Election. And newspapers, both on the Left and the Right have their own agendas. Just as true for the Left Wing papers claiming far more Tories have been doing this. The reason is simple-there are far more wealthy Tory MPs who bought a 2nd Property in London prior to the Rule change

    And won't let the truth get in the way of a good story.

    PS. As a rule of thumb, never believe any story that centres on the "moral" angle. Particularly when it comes to Tax. As I said countless times in the past, "morality" has no place in the UK legal system. The only Moral Courts are in countries like Iran.
    I have no reason to doubt that explanation.
    I have no need to doubt the logic behind the rule change.
    I am a member of the public, and I can see that many of them would be galled by MPs building up a proerty portfolio, that was funded purely by the taxpayer.
    I dont know if it was true, but they were suggesting that many MPs had taken out interest only mortgages, so that the total mortgage cost was covered by the taxpayer.
    I dont know if this is true either, but it may well be that the MPs referred to in the Philip Davies/Esther McVey article, were all living in their London properties, until the rule change.
    They may have all followed the Davies/McVey example and began renting properties, fully funded at the tax payers expense.
    When I say fully funded, I mean that all their costs are covered.
    Where previously only the mortgage interest was being covered.

    Although the taxpayer can sleep soundly at night, in the knowledge that they are not any longer funding mortgages.
    They just fund all the costs of an alternative property, allowing those concerned to continue to build a property portfolio funded by the rent on their empty property.

    Not necessarily a good plan.
    It may be that very little has actually changed except for the details.

    The man in question has gained almost a million quid in equity since 2009.

    As I have said a number of times.
    He has operated within the rules, but many people, of which I am one, feel that what he has done was not within the sprit of the rules.
    One of these people is Sir Alistair Graham.



    Former chairman of the committee on standards in public life Sir Alistair Graham said the living arrangements were not in the "spirit" of expenses rules.

    It is also not a good look that those in the same boat as Davies/McVey will not be paying any council tax or utility bills.
    Maybe painful for those that have struggled to pay theirs.
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