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Mps' Expenses: Council Tax Claims Row As Leaders Pledge Clean Sweep

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MPs' expenses: Council tax claims row as leaders pledge clean sweep

The House of Commons is under ­mounting pressure to abandon the security measures which allowed large numbers of MPs' expenses claims to be censored as Gordon Brown and Conservative leader David Cameron tried to draw a line under the scandal.

Brown said Thursday's highly edited official publication was "part of the old system" that would be swept away by his emergency reforms. But his proposals, due to be rushed through parliament before the summer break, will not apply to claims from 2008-09, details of which are due to be ­published next.

Speaking at an EU summit, Brown said: "The redacted expenses were part of the old system. That cannot be the new ­system. The old system is being swept aside by the changes we are making. A new, far more transparent system is being introduced. "

This legislation will be part of that already in train, which will see a new independent auditor for expenses established.

Cameron said he saw no reason why details of expenses could not be published immediately and fully. To protect the privacy of MPs – an argument used against full disclosure of MPs' current expenditure – Cameron will propose that the first three letters of MPs' postcodes should be made available with only information vital to the security of that MP kept secret. Cameron said: "Only strictly private information – for example phone numbers, bank details and information with legitimate security concerns – should be redacted." All expense claims ­submitted by his shadow cabinet are due to go online in the next few days.

Their attempts at intervention came as dozens of MPs were last night accused of padding out council tax claims on their second homes, adding fuel to the ongoing expenses row. Senior MPs, ministers and members of the shadow cabinet were among those alleged to have submitted bills for thousands of pounds more than they paid to local authorities.

More than 50 MPs are believed to made money from inaccurate claims, in some cases claiming for 12 monthly instalments – annual bills are usually spread over 10payments – while others submitted claims in excess of the council tax banding of their property.

The Daily Telegraph singled out Labour MPs Beverley Hughes, David Blunkett and Mark Tami, a government whip, and shadow ministers David Willetts and ­Jeremy Hunt as among those accused of benefitting from the system.

Eric Illsley, Labour MP for Barnsley Central, was also accused of over-claiming by more than £6,000 between 2004 and 2008. He could not be contacted last night for comment. Tami, MP for Alyn and Deeside, claimed £150 a month for council tax between 2005 and 2007 for what is understood to have at the time been a band C property in Bromley, south-east London. The actual council tax for such a property was about £90 a month in 2007.

He told the Telegraph: "I will go back and calculate the exact level I have over-claimed in error and repay the sum involved." Eighteen MPs are believed to have already repaid sums claimed for council tax to the Commons fees office.Matthew Elliot, chief executive of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said the latest revelations suggested some MPs operated a different tax system to their constituents.

"Many of these same MPs will have campaigned for lower council taxes at the same time as over-charging for theirs. Some people thought the expenses issue had gone to bed, these latest accusations suggest it's even worse than we thought."

The Telegraph calculated that the MPs over-claimed by comparing their expense claims for council tax with publicly available records on the council tax banding of their designated second home.

More:

Revealed: Dozens of MPs profit from inflated council tax claims

Dozens of MPs have made 'ghost' claims for council tax on their taxpayer-funded expenses – in a scam that allows them to make thousands of pounds' profit.

One Labour back-bencher alone was accused of feathering his nest to the tune of £6,000 by over-claiming on his bills between 2004 and 2008.

Senior MPs and ministers, including Beverley Hughes and David Blunkett, have also been criticised for over-claiming for council tax on their listed second home.

Under the dodge, politicians claimed on their expenses for council tax they have not paid.

Some claim round figures – usually £150 or £200 a month – while others make 12 monthly claims even though annual bills are divided into 10 installments.

Details of the scam will increase the pressure on MPs already on the end of unprecedented public fury over the expenses scandal.

It will further infuriate hard-pressed families who have seen their council-tax bills double in the last ten years under a Labour government.

Dozens of MPs have claimed for council tax on their second homes that has been in excess of town halls' published rates by house band, it was claimed by a newspaper last night FRI.

In total, more than 50 MPs are thought to have profited from the dubious claims. Eighteen have already repaid over-claims council tax to the Commons fees office.

Eric Illsley, the Labour MP for Barnsley Central, is thought to have made the highest phantom claim – recouping more than £6,000 over his actual council tax bills since 2004.

Enlarge

The then Home Secretary David Blunkett and Royle Family actress Liz Smith launch a passport initiative in 2004. He over-cliamed on council tax

He has claimed over £10,000 for council tax in four years although he was charged £3,966 for his Band C property in Lambeth, south London. He regularly submitted claims for £200 a month – below the then £250 limit for submitting receipts.

Government whip Mark Tami pocketed about £1,500 extra.

He claimed £150 a month for council tax between 2005 and 2007 for a Band C property in Bromley, south London – around £1,500 more than he was charged.

Last night, he said: 'I will go back and calculate the exact level I have over-claimed in error and repay the sum involved.'

Ex-minister Beverley Hughes was said to have profited by up to £2,000 while Ex-home secretary David Blunkett over-claimed by £178.

Tory skills spokesman David Willetts and culture spokesman Jeremy Hunt both admitted over-claiming by at least £500 each.

Mr Willetts said it was possible he 'inadvertently' claimed for an 11th month. He said: 'I'm still checking the position after the Telegraph brought it to my attention today.'

Crooked ba$tards. Indictments and jail for a lot of them would do well for restoring faith in politics.

Edited by cashinmattress

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Boothroyd on the radio saying morale in parliament is low. I bet it is, they are upset that the true scale of Westminster Pillage has been found it. They are only sorry that they have been caught out. The bigger question is whether nearly every last ******er was willing to game the economy to inflate the value of their own property dealing/fraud. It would explain a lot why opposition benches were silent on the matter of debt/fraud/liar loans and the disgraceful housing situation that was growing.

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Boothroyd on the radio saying morale in parliament is low. I bet it is, they are upset that the true scale of Westminster Pillage has been found it. They are only sorry that they have been caught out. The bigger question is whether nearly every last ******er was willing to game the economy to inflate the value of their own property dealing/fraud. It would explain a lot why opposition benches were silent on the matter of debt/fraud/liar loans and the disgraceful housing situation that was growing.

ABSOLUTELY 100% AGREE WITH YOU. IT IS BEYOND BELIEF.

We've had 10+ years of a nation running on DEBT, LIAR LOANS/MORTGAGE FRAUD........ WE HAVE BEEN RUINED BY THIS.

It makes my BLOOD BOIL. :angry: :angry: :angry:

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MPs' expenses: Council tax claims row as leaders pledge clean sweep

More:

Revealed: Dozens of MPs profit from inflated council tax claims

Crooked ba$tards. Indictments and jail for a lot of them would do well for restoring faith in politics.

All perfectly honest, genuine mistakes, like the phantom mortgage claims. How can you expect such busy and important people to be aware of minor details, like when their mortgages were paid off or which house they're supposed to be living in?

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Guest UK Debt Slave

There's always been this very naive supposition that British politicians are somehow cleaner and less corrupt than their counterparts in other less hallowed corners of the world.

It always was nonsense. Corruption of this kind is nothing new. It is certainly not a modern phenomonen. It's been going on for a long time, particularly since expenses have been used as a means for the political elite to bump up their 'modest' salaries.

The way that politicians have used the system to profit in the property market is particularly galling for those souls who have been priced out of the prperty market.

What a fekkn cesspit this country is

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.......The old system is being swept aside by the changes we are making. A new, far more transparent system is being introduced. "

That is so weak as an excuse for not publishing the full relevant details and only conmen, crooks and scamsters would use words like redact for edit and dissemble for lying etc.

Edited by billybong

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Guest UK Debt Slave
MPs' expenses: Council tax claims row as leaders pledge clean sweep

More:

Revealed: Dozens of MPs profit from inflated council tax claims

Crooked ba$tards. Indictments and jail for a lot of them would do well for restoring faith in politics.

Just walk them off a plank into the Thames. ALL OF THEM

No life saving equipment will be provided

Less expensive then keeping them in prison

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The scale of the expense fraud that has been perpetrated is staggering, it looks like half of the House was in on the deal.

My personal favourite are the Sinn Fein MPs who hate the crown so much that they refuse to attend parliament, but still claimed half a million quid between them in expenses.

Priceless.

I wonder if the Conservatives will be able to repair any of the damage done by Labour, there is so much that needs rolling back where on earth would they start?

I say give UKIP a shot at it, something radical is required. ;)

Edited by poorman

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IMO, we've been had. For the past twelve years the majority have been asleep living on debt and false hopes. I actually believe there was an intentional plan by both the politicians and the banks to defraud us. It's only when the curtain is pulled back that we see the true scale of the fraud. It seems too convenient that these events have happened at roughly the same time. They must have been in cahoots with each other

Edited by self

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Boothroyd on the radio saying morale in parliament is low. I bet it is, they are upset that the true scale of Westminster Pillage has been found it. They are only sorry that they have been caught out. The bigger question is whether nearly every last ******er was willing to game the economy to inflate the value of their own property dealing/fraud. It would explain a lot why opposition benches were silent on the matter of debt/fraud/liar loans and the disgraceful housing situation that was growing.

Show them the Tyburn tree http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyburn_Tree. That should cheer them up.

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IMO, we've been had. For the past twelve years the majority have been asleep living on debt and false hopes. I actually believe there was an intentional plan by both the politicians and the banks to defraud us. It's only when the curtain is pulled back that we see the true scale of the fraud. It seems too convenient that these events have happened at roughly the same time. They must have been in cahoots with each other

It certainly seems like that.

Look, we've been inundated with media over the the past several years telling us that speculation is the only way to come out ahead.

We have endless property shows highlighting this. We saw case after case of morons and half-wits taking a big bet on some property, slapping on some paint and putting in a new bathroom, then walking out of it with a big pay-off in lottery proportions. We all know that these were heavily funded through 'liar loans' and also that it is impossible for everybody to win the lottery.

Now, just how do you think we are supposed to believe, that if you and I are always going to win, the politicians who encourage this type of behaviour within the state are trustworthy?

UK Debt Slave is correct in saying the UK is a cesspit. OH, hey UKDS, your iconic avatar's movie was on last night on Film 4. Haven't seen it for a few years, great stuff.

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8110516.stm

The Telegraph says Labour MP Eric Illsley was accused of over-claiming by more than £6,000 between 2004 and 2008.

Mr Illsley said the claims were submitted during a period when receipts were not required.

The claims do not match the council tax bills. It is embarrassing

Eric Illsley

Until recently, MPs only needed to provide receipts for claims higher than £250 a month.

Many MPs claimed a notional amount which wasn't related to the actual bill, he said.

"This is why the claims do not match the council tax bills. It is embarrassing. I'm sorry it has happened.

"I have never made any secret of my claims and I will pay back the money."

So am I correct in reading this? You didn't need a receipt for anything up to £250 so they all just claimed £250 for council tax, even if this figure in no way related to what they paid?

Hasn't he just openly admitted fraud? If the fees office didn't even pick this one up, which must be one of the most simple expenses to verify, what else have they missed?

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8110516.stm

So am I correct in reading this? You didn't need a receipt for anything up to £250 so they all just claimed £250 for council tax, even if this figure in no way related to what they paid?

Hasn't he just openly admitted fraud? If the fees office didn't even pick this one up, which must be one of the most simple expenses to verify, what else have they missed?

That is definitely fraud and should be somewhat easy to prove.

So I hope we have enough spaces in our open prisons.

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Guest happy?
The scale of the expense fraud that has been perpetrated is staggering, it looks like half of the House was in on the deal.

My personal favourite are the Sinn Fein MPs who hate the crown so much that they refuse to attend parliament, but still claimed half a million quid between them in expenses.

Priceless.

I wonder if the Conservatives will be able to repair any of the damage done by Labour, there is so much that needs rolling back where on earth would they start?

I say give UKIP a shot at it, something radical is required. ;)

The Conservatives have been at the head of the gravy train for years - UKIP just can't wait to get on board.

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Guest sillybear2

As they keep telling us with ID Cards, "if you've got nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear".

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Guest happy?
As they keep telling us with ID Cards, "if you've got nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear".

The most interesting thing about this all is that the system which screwed MPs was of course a database - in this instance an EDRMS. Had it all been a manual process we'd never have got the details so quickly and efficiently - just goes to show some government IT systems are worth every penny.

Edited by happy?

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Guest sillybear2
The most interesting thing about this all is that the system which screwed MPs was of course a database - in this instance an EDRMS. Had it all been a manual process we'd never have got the details so quickly and efficiently - just goes to show some government IT systems are worth every penny.

Yes, if there's one thing govt will learn from all this is the fact information wants to be free and the truth will always out. Precisely why the cover up will be meticulous and complete next time around. I'm sure all sorts of documents, electronic and paper, are being shredded all over Whitehall as we speak, especially with the Iraq inquiry coming up.

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Yes, if there's one thing govt will learn from all this is the fact information wants to be free and the truth will always out. Precisely why the cover up will be meticulous and complete next time around. I'm sure all sorts of documents, electronic and paper, are being shredded all over Whitehall as we speak, especially with the Iraq inquiry coming up.

Shredders are catching fire they're so hot..... :rolleyes:

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Yes, if there's one thing govt will learn from all this is the fact information wants to be free and the truth will always out. Precisely why the cover up will be meticulous and complete next time around. I'm sure all sorts of documents, electronic and paper, are being shredded all over Whitehall as we speak, especially with the Iraq inquiry coming up.

Unless your name is Tony B liar and then your data goes into the black hole of /dev/null

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Just found out my MP has a second home in London, paid for by us. We are on the bleeding tube! :angry:

Our wonderful democratic gardians are far too important to use the tube!

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It makes my BLOOD BOIL. :angry: :angry: :angry:

We are no longer a democracy. We live in a fascist dictatorship. We are the victims of a protection racket in the form of high taxes, the proceeds of which are laundered by the government and ultimately used to fund the Political Class's extravagent lifestyles. If we don't pay, we are punished.

In hundreds of years humans will look back on this period in our history in horror.

Democracy is an illusion, there to keep us stupid and frustrated. The Houses of Parliament must be demolished.

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