Posted by: John | May 25, 2009

Leyton Lib Dems should go on the attack on ACA

I thought in passing I’d have a quick gander at Harry Cohen MP’s website and how he defends his ACA for his `constituency base` in Leyton. How anyone would claim money for the taxpayer for a home in Leyton when you work in Westminster is beyond me.

I have been an MP since 1983 and for many years did not claim the allowances, other than for staff.  In the mid 1980s, Conservative backbenchers pressurised Mrs Thatcher to increase their salaries.  She instructed Treasury Minister John Moore to meet their demands without an outright salary increase.  He did this via allowances, particularly the Additional Costs Allowance which he confirmed would be a light system as far as receipts were concerned.  As such, the allowance was meant to be a salary addendum.

Basically means `I don’t get enough, and what’s good for the Tories should be good enough for a new type of oik like me`. I hope he keeps on saying that the allowance was meant to be a salary addendum. Again, all the Tories fault, nowt to do with me, guv.

Then, prior to the 1992 general election I realised, if Labour won, that the Conservatives would keep us working long into the night.  Also, the new Select Committee system would require morning meetings.

Consequently, I bought a property within 15 minutes of Parliament for better access.  Financial arrangements locked me into an endowment policy as mortgage capital is not paid off through parliamentary allowances.  There will be a large amount for me to pay at the end of my loan.  The Mail on Sunday’s financial figures are fiction.

Gosh do you mean like people in Leyton that have to do `a job`! Erm, well you needn’t have had an endowment as you could have actually rented a flat. As for the Tories making you work into the night – ah diddums.

Conditions changed after the election of the Labour Government in 1997. Regular all-night sittings ended.  My parliamentary constituency increased to include Wanstead and Snaresbrook in addition to Leyton and Leytonstone. Most significantly, the local Labour Party office from which I operated was sold.  I therefore used the allowance for constituency premises from which I could work.

Gosh that wonderful Labour Government, eh! Not only was working life easier I could sell off my Westminster place for a tidy profit? Or is that property still owned?

If you read it thoroughly the spin makes your head spin – it’s as if it’s written by an experienced brief defending a dodgy case.

Two questions puzzle me:

1. Why on earth is the taxpayer funding a second home in Leyton which is no more than 4o mins by tube from Central London?

2. What DID happen to that flat near Westminster?

My head’s dizzy with all the spin – I might have to lie down!


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