No Account-Ability

Taxed: Benn Needs A Little More Help

Taxed: Benn Needs A Little Extra Help

In today’s Telegraph, the ongoing exposé of MPs’ expenses reached the heart of Leeds, in the form of the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ tax returns.

Ministers caught claiming for party political propaganda:

Harriet Harman and five other Cabinet ministers were told they had breached the Commons’ rules on office expenses by allowing party political propaganda to be published in taxpayer-funded annual reports, leaflets and on taxpayer-funded website. [.]

Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary, fell foul of the rules by including “several articles relating to government policy and initiatives … which are not appropriate” for a taxpayer-funded annual report.

A spokesman for Mr Benn said that following advice from the fees office, he funded the report himself.

And, to avoid further confusion about what can and cannot be claimed for, the BBC reports:

Leeds Central MP Hilary Benn is among nine cabinet members who used £11,000 of taxpayers’ money to pay for personal accountancy advice, it has emerged.

They go on to quote the excuses explanations of a “Labour source”:

“The fees office Green Book – which sets out the rules and advice on behalf of the parliamentary authorities – states specifically that professional advice, for example from accountants or solicitors, is an allowable expense.

“In order that MPs comply fully with all the relevant requirements relating to tax, and to ensure they are properly meeting all their tax liabilities, may rightly seek professional assistance and advice where this relates specifically to their role as members of Parliament.”

So, to paraphrase: “In order to ensure that MPs do not actually break any laws, taxpayers should be expected to pay for them to be professionally advised as to how far those laws may be stretched”.

“Brilliant!”, exclaims Tiberius “Why don’t we just take the next logical step and start paying our representatives to not commit any crimes..!?”

Either that, or we send in this man to sort things out:

Nice Shirt

Nice Shirt

“Tax: It Doesn’t Have To Be Taxing” says Mr Hart-Davis.

“And it’s even less so if you get a free accountant” says Mr Leodis.

See also: Fabian Vs Satire; Feed Your MP; From Gravy-Train To Bread-Line

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Published in: on May 25, 2009 at 10:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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