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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Fabian Vs Satire

Long-time Weary Surfer, WonderboyInMonsterland, has been in touch to point out some pertinent Fab-Facts from the MP’s area on theyworkforyou.com

A “Who Woulda Thunk It?” comes in the form of the first item on Mr Hamilton’s voting record:

Who Woulda Thunk It?

But for irony-unadulterated, we need look no further than the “Committees and topics of interest”, and “Register of Member’s Interests” to find that:

Mortage EndowmentBook Keeper

That’s right, the same man wh0 in 2004,  according to the Daily Telegraph:

admitted over-claiming on his expenses by nearly £3,000, charging for the full cost of his mortgage as well as the interest-only element to which he was entitled

is also the Honorary President of the International Association of Bookkeepers, and, when in parliaments, ask most of his questions about “Finance”, and “Mortgage Endowment Policies”.

Wonderboy asks in his email: “Does Tiberius expect to be attending Satire’s funeral sometime soon?”

But, alas, Tiberius is too speechless to respond.

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

From Gravy-Train To Bread-Line

A Hungry Man

A Hungry Man

On Tuesday, the Telegraph scandal of MPs’ expenses reached Leeds, or rather, reached one of the homes of Fabian Hamilton MP. You can read the report here:

In 2004, the MP admitted over-claiming on his expenses by nearly £3,000, charging for the full cost of his mortgage as well as the interest-only element to which he was entitled. The £300 a month error came to light only when the Commons fees office asked him to produce his mortgage statement.

And, if anyone is wondering “How do these people sleep at night?”, the answer in Mr Hamilton’s case is: “Probably quite well on his tax-payer-purchased £800 bed!”

“But let’s us not judge too quickly”, warns Tiberius, “There may have been extenuating circumstances…”

Yesterday, Hamilton posted his excuses explanations on his website, while the YEP reported that :

The MP told the YEP that he normally claims £400 a month for food, which he thinks is still less than is actually needed.

He said: “There are times when I have constituents down here and I take them out for a meal and it costs me £100. I bet it costs more than £400 a month to eat out in London and not to buy your own food and cook.”

Yes, you read that right – not only has Mr Hamilton been selflessly performing a (British tax-payers subsidised) ‘wining and dining’ of the plebs, he is experiencing difficultly in trying to run this Samaritan-like service on his meagre £400 a month food allowance!

Perhaps members of Mr Hamilton’s constituency of Leeds North East may now realise that their saintly MP, while generously  feeding the public on their own tab, has himself been going without. Tiberius therefore suggests that they consider clubbing together to send their MP a much-needed food-parcel.

For those outside the boundary, or just reluctant to contribute to this food-aid programme (though Tiberius is confident any donations will be tax-deductable) they may consider simply dropping off some food at Hamilton’s constituency office at 335 Roundhay Road, Leeds, LS8 4HT.  Take rice, flour, grain, whatever you can spare!

Please fill out the form below saying what you can contribute to this “Hungry, Hungry Hamilton Appeal”.

(Oh, and if anyone has a spare calculator or abacus that they could donate,  it would greatfully received.  Mr Hamilton has had a little trouble keeping track of his finances of late – no doubt due to starvation-induced exhaustion.)

Published in: on May 15, 2009 at 12:29 pm  Comments (15)  
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