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British MPs get iPods, Plasma TVs on their allowances?

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 03 Jun 2007 18:06 User comments (6)

British MPs get iPods, Plasma TVs on their allowances? According to a report by the TimeOnline, British Members of Parliament are using their taxpayer-funded expense accounts to buy plasma televisions and iPods amongst other things, according to unnamed insiders. The report alleges that Finance administrators have approved such items despite widespread public concern about abuses of the parliamentary expenses system.
It also alleges that MPs have re-mortgaged their homes to get thousands of pounds, and are using their allowances to cover the repayments. "There has been a successful claim for a very expensive, large plasma television and for a fish tank. After discussion among officials in the fees office, both were waved through," the report cites an insider as saying.

"Also, in the run-up to Christmas last year, a lot of MPs suddenly started claiming for iPods. The system really is outrageous." The row over the 87m annual expenses bill erupted last month when MPs backed new legislation to exclude themselves from the Freedom of Information Act.

"It is public money and it should be accounted for. I dont believe MPs ought to be exempt under freedom of information and I thought the vote was a shameful day. This is precisely the sort of thing that gives MPs a bad name," Mark Hunter, a Liberal Democrat MP opposed to the new legislation, said.

An MP can spend up to 21,634 on the cost of maintaining a second home in London or his/her constituency. A further 20,000 a year is available for paying the costs involved in running an office. The items that the insiders alleged to have been bought by MPs, were apparently paid for with one of these allowances.

Source:
TimesOnline

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6 user comments

14.6.2007 0:27

It still does not tell us the reason why they need the ipods and TV's give me a break their is no good reason why the MP's would need these gadgets.

24.6.2007 2:28

What a bunch of tossers. I'm self employed and if I tried to claim for an Ipod and plasma the tax man would be down on me like a ton of bricks

34.6.2007 6:20
hughjars
Inactive

Before anyone gets too carried away with this I suggest they read the actual article.

It talks about one MP getting a Plasma TV; out of 659.

.....and as for whether a recording device like an iPod is fair enough?

Well that doesn't seem to be such an odd idea to me, I'm sure grabbing time to hear dictated correspondence or advice etc is something an iPod would be ideal for.

By all means hold the plasma buyer to account & inspect the rest of the expenses with a fine tooth comb
(especially those employing wives and family as researchers and secretaries etc)
but leaping to ill-considered conclusions on the basis of something this report does not actually say is a bit ridiculous.

British MPs (plural) did not 'get Plasma TVs on their allowances';
one did - and getting an iPod is hardly a sign of vast riches being creamed off from the British taxpayer.

Whilst I'm not self-employed myself (anymore) I do know that if you can present a reasonable enough case to the taxman there is very little that cannot be claimed as a legitimate business expense under the UK tax system
(it's something the ultra wealthy in our society have exploited for decades....."only the little people pay tax" if you recall.....but you'll not be hearing much about what claims they get away with from Rupert's boys).

It would be very interesting to hear whether or not there was a reasonable explaination for this expense (and there must have been some kind of grounds for claiming it).
I'd rather make some conclusions when I hear the full facts, not just an obviously biased paper's report on it.

.....and what's the real message behind this really, huh?
What would Murdock's idiot scribbling kiddies and political shills prefer anyways eh?

Get rid of our democracy as a waste of time & money & just come right out with it & have a global dictatorship of the corporations & just let them get on with it?

Well f*ck that and f*ck them.

How low 'The Times' has sunk in the last 30yrs.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 04 Jun 2007 @ 6:30

44.6.2007 22:33

Quote:
Before anyone gets too carried away with this I suggest they read the actual article.

It talks about one MP getting a Plasma TV; out of 659.

.....and as for whether a recording device like an iPod is fair enough?

Well that doesn't seem to be such an odd idea to me, I'm sure grabbing time to hear dictated correspondence or advice etc is something an iPod would be ideal for.

By all means hold the plasma buyer to account & inspect the rest of the expenses with a fine tooth comb
(especially those employing wives and family as researchers and secretaries etc)
but leaping to ill-considered conclusions on the basis of something this report does not actually say is a bit ridiculous.

British MPs (plural) did not 'get Plasma TVs on their allowances';
one did - and getting an iPod is hardly a sign of vast riches being creamed off from the British taxpayer.

Whilst I'm not self-employed myself (anymore) I do know that if you can present a reasonable enough case to the taxman there is very little that cannot be claimed as a legitimate business expense under the UK tax system
(it's something the ultra wealthy in our society have exploited for decades....."only the little people pay tax" if you recall.....but you'll not be hearing much about what claims they get away with from Rupert's boys).

It would be very interesting to hear whether or not there was a reasonable explaination for this expense (and there must have been some kind of grounds for claiming it).
I'd rather make some conclusions when I hear the full facts, not just an obviously biased paper's report on it.

.....and what's the real message behind this really, huh?
What would Murdock's idiot scribbling kiddies and political shills prefer anyways eh?

Get rid of our democracy as a waste of time & money & just come right out with it & have a global dictatorship of the corporations & just let them get on with it?

Well f*ck that and f*ck them.

How low 'The Times' has sunk in the last 30yrs.
Firstly, that news was written on Sunday... a weekend.... during summer.... when news is at its driest of all times and I needed to write something. So let me clarify that I "never" (if I can help it) write news sourced from a British tabloid (sorta why I have question mark in the headline, i don't fully trust the source for the truth).

Now, the report cites examples from an "insider" and uses examples of someone getting iPod, someone getting plasma TV, someone getting fish tank etc. But the overall message of the article is that much more mis-use of allowances is taking place, these are just three hard hitting examples to throw at readers from the source. Once again, you can argue the validity of a tabloid source AND the political message it may be trying to get out into the wild.

I tried as hard as I could to not allow any possible political spin to reflect in my article, we are, afterall, a tech site with a niche that focuses heavily on devices like iPods and Plasma TVs which made this item attractive despite its source and its possible political propaganda. I think I did a fairly good job at leaving it up the reader, i use thw word "apparently" and always try to keep the message that this is what "someone is saying", not what "we know as fact to be true".

I also agree that an iPod, I thought, wouldn't fall outside an acceptable item to run an office. This is, afterall, the revolution of media content and iPods can play video and audio for hours which makes them ideal for news report content, which is available from legitimate sources and of course, podcasts from political figures and everything from economical news to foreign-sourced news etc. So, I would say getting an iPod with an allowance toward the cost of running an office "is" a smart purchase, if used correctly. However, we go back to political influence and I didn't want sarcastic comments thrown at me like "Oh ye Dela, Im sure my MP getting an iPod from MY money is good for MY country" etc.

One thing I will say though is your comment, for the most part, is right on the mark :-)

55.6.2007 3:20
hughjars
Inactive

Thanks for the reply Dela, I really wasn't expecting you to, but again thanks.

I know you took my comments the right way (they most certainly were not aimed at you or the site in any way for carrying the story, at all).

It's an interesting area - the fish tank for instance would most probably go down as an office expense for where the MP held their public surgery, just the same as any business putting plant-pots out in their reception area or being able to claim redecorating as an expense.
Should either be allowable?

Or is it (which I think is the obvious slant from the Times article) just MPs we all want to encourage people to line up to bash and deny everything possible?

69.6.2007 4:46
hugolove
Inactive

British MPs corrupt? No news there. What is surprising, however, is that more people haven't protested their decision to give themselves immunity to investigation by the public.

Just one more step on the road to a totalitarian government. Burn in hell, Tony Blair.

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