Saturday, May 29, 2010

David Laws and Expenses

After all the showy grandstanding done by David Laws on how he wanted to save government money (even insisting that ministers walk to meetings instead of using cars), it turns out that he himself was claiming about £40,000 to subsidize his lover by saying he was renting rooms in his house.

Now that expenses has reared it's ugly head again, I thought it would be a good time to look at the expenses of the candidates for the Labour leadership. We need them to be scrupulously clean as well as capable of being Prime Minister. So here's what was claimed in the last parliament (figures are only available up to 2008/9).

Ed Miliband

2008/9 £7,783
2007/8 £7,670
2006/7 £7,795
2005/6 £7,246

Ed Balls

2008/9 £11,840
2007/8 £12,219
2006/7 £15,979
2005/6 £13.618

David Miliband

2008/9 £ 9,083
2007/8 £17,387
2006/7 £16,728
2005/6 £21,611

Andy Burnham

2008/9 £12,301
2007/8 £10,504
2006/7 £13,461
2005/6 £16,147

John McDonnell

2008/9 £0
2007/8 £0
2006/7 £0
2005/6 £0

Dianne Abbott

2008/9 £0
2007/8 £0
2006/7 £0
2005/6 £0

For contrast, here's the expenses of the leader of the Tories and the leader of the LibDems:

David Cameron

2008/9 £20,240
2007/8 £19,626
2006/7 £20,563
2005/6 £21,359

Nick Clegg

2008/9 £17,081
2007/8 £23,083
2006/7 £22,050
2005/6 £21,610

John McDonnell and Dianne Abbott are both London MPs (represending Hayes and Harlington, and Hackney North and Stoke Newington respectively), so they didn't need to claim anything compared the to MPs representing Northern seats, such as Doncaster (Ed Miliband), Morley and Outwood (Ed Balls), South Shields (David Miliband) and Leigh (Andy Burnham). It's worth noting however that Jon Cruddas, a London MP, somehow did manage to claim the full allowance (another reason it's a good thing that Cruddas isn't running), so good on Dianne Abbott and John McDonnell for being so honest

Ed Balls did move his primary residence from London to Castleford in 2007, but insisted on paying the full CGT at the time, despite being told he didn't need to by the expenses office. He was also part of the minority in the House of Commons who voted to reform the expenses system in 2008, indicating a certain political prescience (if that vote had been won, a lot of grief would have been avoided).

Cameron and Clegg claim rather a lot considering they are both millionaires. Cameron for instance was claiming nearly three times what Ed Miliband claimed, and his constituency is considerably closer to London than Ed's. All our candidates look good compared to them.


Gareth said...

Jon Cruddas, like John McDonnell, is an outer London MP (i.e. outside zones 1-2) and so was entitled to housing allowance.

As an inner London MP, Diane Abbott (like Frank Dobson, Jeremy Corbyn, Kate Hoey, etc), was not able to to claim it.

Jon Cruddas has a 'second home' in Notting Hill, though this is his ordinary residence and his children go to school there.

snowflake5 said...

Gareth, Cruddas may have been an outer London MP, but that didn't justify him claiming pretty much teh maximum allowance (over £20k). Consider that the member for Luton North is further away and commuted to London, and claimed just £1,123 for 2008/9 - and notably there was a swing to him in the last general election. By contrast Cruddas nearly lost his seat.

If more Labour MPs were like Hopkins, we would have won the election. Our people need to take note - there isn't a hiding place in the current environment.

besy28 said...

I don't think the relatively close call Cruddas had had much to do with expenses; he actually did quite well, given how appalling the 2008 results were in his constituency. Though, yeah, if all members of the PLP were as hair-shirted as Hopkins there would be many more people in the PLP.