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MPs' expenses: Austerity measures? Do as I say, not as I do

Despite the apparent need for austerity, MPs still managed to claim almost £11 million towards their second homes last year

Issue No. 2182

Despite the apparent need for austerity, MPs still managed to claim £10.7 million towards their second homes last year—an average of more than £17,000 for every MP outside inner London.

John Healey, the housing minister, made £88,000 profit in July after selling the second home he bought with our money.

He has now said he will repay the capital gains tax.

He is among more than 80 MPs who “flipped” their designated second homes during 2008 and 2009 to increase their expenses.

Other MPs in on the racket include:

Mark Oaten, Lib Dem MP, who made a profit of £82,000 when he sold his London home for £360,000.

Gisela Stuart, Labour MP for Birmingham Edgbaston, who made a profit of £63,000 when selling her constituency home for £168,000.

Tory MP, Sir Peter “duck house” Viggers, who profited by £350,000 when he sold his Hampshire home for £800,000.

James Arbuthnot, a senior Tory backbencher, claimed £2,750 for tree surgery at his country estate—despite the work being conducted during the previous financial year.

Arbuthnot, who previously claimed for a swimming pool, also claimed £15,000 for other work at his property—including the painting of its summer house.

Michael Martin, the former speaker, arranged for us to pay his council tax until next April—even though he left the Commons in June.

Not to be outdone, Labour’s Paddy Tipping, a member of the Commons’ standards committee, attempted to claim £50 for “dog minding”.

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Article information

Tue 15 Dec 2009, 17:35 GMT
Issue No. 2182
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