An Apple A Day: Fabian Takes A Byte Out Of Taxpayers

A quick totting up of Fabian Hamilton’s Additional Cost Allowance for the last four years reveals that it has cost the taxpayers of North East Leeds £14,000 to keep their MP well fed.

A number of months’ expenses forms are missing from today’s releases, so either Hamilton didn’t claim anything for May & June 2006 and between January-March 2007 (ha!) or we will have to wait to see if that tab goes up. However, of the forty-four expenses claims submitted, in only nine did he fail to claim the maximum food allowance of £400; even in May 2005, when he only claims from the 6th of the month (and therefore adjusts the claim for his mortgage, utility and rates claims accordingly) Fabian still managed to get his full portion of free grub.

Taxpayers may also be interested to know that they’ve paid over £3700 to keep Mr Hamilton clean for the last four years; over £1500 to paint and decorate his house; forked out £4400 on a new boiler and service heating system (presumably he’s not carrying enough taxpayer-subsidised calories to keep him warm) ; paid four grand for the installation of a new kitchen, £1250 on two new TVs plus £350 for two DVD players (Note to self: check Hamilton doesn’t have a conjoined twin – this may be real reason why he is eating for two); furnished his home with a £439 wardrobe, a £450 chest of draws, and an £800 bed; and upgraded his windows to the tune of two and a half grand.

Then there is June 2004 when Hamilton claimed £5363.87 for “renewal of bathroom & repair caused by leaks”, £681.50 for “replacement of rotten windows in bedroom”, and £159 for “new floor tiles” – but the form has been blacked out so it’s impossible to tell whether he has spent the last few years  living in a water-damaged hovel or not.

And this isn’t bringing up how anyone can possibly claim an ‘oversight’ when their mortage claims jump from £343 one month to £1062.53 the next.

So let’s swiftly move on to the “Communication Allowance”.

There are so many claims you’d be forgiven for thinking that Fab was running his own multimedia empire and Tiberius has not yet had the time to go through all of them. However, as pointed out  by recent commenter “Charcoal”, one thing that does stand out is the number of items and services being purchased from ‘Serif Systems’ and its related ‘Pi Internet’. These include an £810 “Canon HV 20 Video Camera”,  and a £468 “video podcast 1 year account”. There are two additional payments to PI for “Homebuild Starter Self-build Website” (£549.90) and “Website update of design” (£468.83).

Now admittedly, Hamilton does have quite a decent website, but nowhere does it offer a Ricky Gervais-esque ‘podcast’. Presumably the camera is used as part of the IContactFabian service, where constituents get to see Fabian online as he solves their problems, however this can easily be done for free using services such as Skype or MSN messenger. Are there really people in Leeds so desperate to see Fabian in super high-definition they’d be willing to fork out over a grand for the privilege!?

Anyway, a quick Google search of “Serif Systems” and”Fabian Hamilton” turns up this interesting piece of information from a 1997 article in The Lawyer:

However, Hamilton, in an argument which is likely to be mirrored when the prosecution comes to court, claimed in his High Court bid before Lord Justice Brooke and Justice Gage that the allegations against him are pure technicalities.

They include complaints over alleged failure to display the company name outside Serif Systems, a computer company of which Hamilton is joint owner,and failure to disclose his previous surname, Uziel-Hamilton, to company registration authorities. [Emphasis added]

Also worthy of note are Lord Justice Brooke’s comments at that time:

In dismissing Hamilton’s High Court bid to end the prosecution moves, Lord Justice Brooke said that Hamilton had already been the subject of adverse publicity over his business affairs, including the collapse of previous companies in which he was involved. One had gone into liquidation owing £106,000 and another was wound up with debts of £60,000. [Emphasis added]

“I guess it must be tough to keep a business going when you’re not getting taxpayer funded contracts through..”, Tiberius muses, apropos of nothing.

Onto the Incidental Expenses Provision/Staff Allowance, this is a 225 page beast and Tiberius doesn’t claim to have comprehensively covered it. However,  the first page indicates another payment to PI Internet – £1715.50 for various ADSL charges; p.32 shows some invoices from Serif for PC repairs; p.63: more payments to PI amounting to £500 plus for various internet services, and another £200+ on p.84; p.116: £141, this time to Serif for fixing some ‘syncing’ problems; p.120: £116.33 to PI for more online mailboxes (must be a popular guy); £88  to Serif to repair a ‘noisy fan’ on his iMac (p.156), and £52.88 for Anti-Virus software (p.161); and finally, a whopping £761.99 to Serif for two scanners plus warranties (p.204), and £1298.39 to PI for various broadband/ADSL services (p.208). There are another three years of IEP claims to go through, but Tiberius currently lacks the stomach for it.

Now, Tiberius isn’t saying that Mr Hamilton is still involved in any way with Serif Systems (the company of which he was formerly Managing Director) or with its affiliated Pi internet (and there is no mention of either of them on the Register of Interests on TWFY.com), he’s simply pointing out how sweet it is that Fabian keeps throwing so much business their way. 

 Finally, for those worrying that their MP isn’t hip enough, it may reassure you to know that your taxes have paid for his Macbook (£799) , Iphone (£283.99), an 8GB Ipod Nano (£135.13) – and there was Tiberius thinking that Fabian would hate apples.

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

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Published in: on June 18, 2009 at 11:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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