Socialist Worker

MPs employing family scam is a gift that keeps on giving

Issue No. 2421

Tory justice secretary Chris Grayling employs his wife

Tory justice secretary Chris Grayling employs his wife (Pic: Policy Exchange)


The number of MPs employing family members has surged over the past year.

One in four MPs employ relatives or business associates. That’s up 8 percent on last year.

MPs’ expenses hit a record high, breaking through the barrier set in 2008-09 when the expenses scandal provoked outrage.

MPs claimed for a total of £103.06 million in the last financial year, up 5 percent on last year and £700,000 more than in 2008-09.

It emerged that 39 MPs overspent on their staffing budget in 2013-14, despite 11 of those MPs already having been granted an “uplift” in their six-figure budget.

MPs who represent London seats are allowed to spend £144,000 on staff after the boost in staffing allowances in 2012. 

Those outside the capital can spend up to £137,200 a year.

Those who breached their staffing budget included two leading Lib Dems—Danny Alexander, the chief secretary to the Treasury and Ed Davey, the energy and climate change secretary.

Among Labour MPs, the shadow ministers Jim Murphy, Lilian Greenwood, Sharon Hodgson and Julie Hilling all missed their staffing budget targets.

Alexander was the eighth biggest spender and one of a dozen MPs whose claims exceeded £200,000.

Among the 168 MPs using their staff allowance to employ relatives or business associates are four Cabinet members. 

Chris Grayling, the justice secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, Stephen Crabb, the Welsh secretary and Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, all employ their wives. 

Two more Tory MPs—Christopher Chope and Peter Bone—employ their wives Christine and Jeanette on salaries of up to £50,000 a year.

Not to be hypocritical they  pay their wives salaries in the higher-rate tax bands. Both oppose the minimum wage.


Fancy commemorating a bit of bloodshed? Well now you can do it in style. The British Legion has unveiled a range of poppy merchandise, or “poppy bling”, to mark the centenary of the First World War. Its bestseller is a pair of brass poppy cufflinks—a snip at just £79.99.

They’re made from the melted-down shells of guns that massacred people 100 years ago.


A Thatcher warning from Spain?

Madrid council in Spain unveiled “Margaret Thatcher Plaza” this week.

The naming ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Madrid Ana Botela, the British ambassador to Spain Simon Manly, arms salesman Mark Thatcher and others.

Prime minister David Cameron has lent his support to the project, But there is trouble ahead. President of Conservatives Abroad Madrid Ben Harris-Quinney said, “It is, however, a great shame that more has not been done to honour Margaret Thatcher’s memory in Britain.

“What has been achieved in Madrid must now be urgently replicated in the UK.”


A guardsman at Buckingham Palace could be thrown in military jail—for dancing. The Grenadier Guardsman’s dance to entertain tourists became a YouTube hit.

But on top of the jail threat, he could also be fined £1,000 and forced to endure “marching practice”.


Harry’s ‘hard work’  nets him £10 million

With the immense skill and talent that he has shown throughout his life Prince Harry has come into more money. Hard work and determination meant that he has rather brilliantly not died before his 30th birthday and so inherited £10 million.

The cash is half what Diana got in the divorce from Prince Charles. He’s been getting the interest on the cash, around £350,000, for the last five years but now he can spend the lot if he wants. 

Like the rest of his family he is both tight fisted and racist.

Harry failed to pay a £1,000 drink tab at Sandhurst claiming he did not possess a cheque book or credit card.

“Colonials and natives” was the theme of the fancy dress party where Harry donned his swastika armband.

Harry’s huge windfall comes as Buckingham Palace accounts show the queen will receive an inflation-busting 

5 percent rise in public funding to £37.9 million next year.


What will we do without Coldplay?

The Better Together campaign likes to claim that all kinds of great things have come from Scotland being part of Britain. In case you were wondering what these were, The Sun provided a handy list last week.

Its “10 things union’s given us” included Andy Murray, Grand Theft Auto, Doctor Who and Coldplay.

It isn’t clear how a vote for independence would affect any of these things.


ALL FALL

11%

of benefit claimants shunned by their family 

15%

said they had suffered verbal abuse 

4%

suffered physical abuse


Bosses and Tories pay for propaganda

Angela Knight, the boss of industry body Energy UK, has decided it’s time to paint the energy suppliers in “the best possible light”.

Energy UK has joined forces with ITN to create an energy “news programme” fronted by Natasha Kaplinsky, which aims to ensure that the “crucial sector” is “being understood as it should”.

Intriguingly, ITN is offering an “invitation-only” opportunity for energy companies to feature in the “news-style” marketing video—for a small fee, naturally.


As children return to overcrowded, underfunded schools, they’ll be comforted that the Department for Education is spending its funds on much more important things.

These include a film promoting the Tories’ attacks on schools.

The 30-minute video, The school revolution: how reforms are transforming schools, cost £45,900 to create and produce.


THE THINGS THEY SAY...

‘Those who are most fearful of the impending referendum are the nobility’

Tatler magazine on Scottish independence

‘This place eats money. But what if Salmond imposes a mansion tax? We’re done for’

The Duchess of Argyll worries about a Yes vote

‘Yes fanatics get even nastier’

The Daily Mail rages over a protest against BBC bias against independence

‘Menaced’

How Alistair Darling claimed he had been treated during the referendum campaign

‘Mob’

How the Daily Mail described Yes campaigners last week

‘Scots could go to back of the queue for transplants’

Scare story from the Times

‘Vote to renew our historic bond’

David Beckham jumps on the No bandwagon

‘Salmond would spout left-wing, Marxist views’

A Daily Mirror “exclusive”


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Article information

The Troublemaker
Tue 16 Sep 2014, 18:01 BST
Issue No. 2421
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