Tag Archives: expenses

Councils send in the bailiffs to clear tax arrears [Also in the news]


Local authorities seem to think that driving council house tenants to starvation, or taking their belongings, as a means of clearing council tax arrears is a good idea.

How do they think taking the few possessions and the little money left to people in extremely vulnerable situations, that were worsened by Covid-19, will make everything better?

And which councils do you reckon are responsible for this behaviour? The Tory ones?

Also in the news:

1. Boris Johnson may be thinking of replacing Rishi Sunak as Chancellor – with Liz Truss

He would be replacing one incompetent – Sunak was responsible for the ‘Eat out to die out’ voucher scheme that did so much to spread Covid-19 last autumn – with another – Truss trumpeted a trade deal with Japan that sold Stilton cheese to a country that is lactose-intolerant.

2. MPs have been claiming expenses for ‘dependent children’ – who aren’t children at all

And they’re mostly Tories. What a surprise.

3. NHS waiting lists could top 15 million in four years, ministers are warned

They’ve been told a major increase in capacity is required but they are too busy giving cash to private companies and selling off NHS assets to pay for it.

4. Former Chancellor is accused of breaking the ministerial code

It’s claimed that Philip Hammond broke the rules because he lobbied the government on behalf of a bank that employs him as a paid advisor – before the end of a two-year ban on using his his “government and/or ministerial contacts to influence policy” on behalf of his new employer.

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Why are we paying hundreds of pounds to help Matt Hancock improve his social media profile?

Taking our cash: Matt Hancock claimed public money to boost his own social media profile.

Death ‘Health’ Secretary Matt Hancock has claimed nearly £1,000 of public money for software from a firm that claims to help boost social media profiles.

It seems he wanted to use the software from Sprout Social to improve his image on the internet (fat chance).

I don’t know about you, but I object to public money being used to “big up” these Tory maniacs. Hancock helped cause more than 150,000 unnecessary deaths (so far) in the Covid pandemic.

A spokesperson for Matt Hancock said: “Mr Hancock needs to communicate with his constituents as effectively as possible, including on social media. All expenditure is within the rules and transparently declared.”

Oh, really?

Then why have we not been told which social media accounts have actually benefited (if that’s the word) from this software?

Until we know that, we can only believe that Hancock is using the nation’s cash for his own personal profit. And, last time I checked, that definitely wasn’t “within the rules”.

Source: Matt Hancock claims hundreds on expenses for social media management platform | indy100

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Social media site removes ‘Home Office’ article due to ‘misinformation’. Let’s have another look at that expenses list…

Satire: nobody really thought Priti Patel had spent a fortune of Home Office money making her eyebrows look good, did they? But she did authorise the payments to a firm that was dissolved in 2018 – so, what was really going on?

I received an email today from LinkedIn, of all places.

It stated: “Your post goes against our policy on misinformation. It has been removed and only you can access it.”

The post to which it referred was my article Huge wodges of your cash have failed to make Patel pretty. Why is she using your money to pamper herself?

Obviously the email doesn’t provide enough information for me to respond in any meaningful way, so I have requested a review and an explanation. In the meantime, we can have a look at some of the information in the article, which centres on expenses claims submitted by the Home Office and drawing on public money.

Lloyd Hardy on Twitter has been analysing the claims and produced the following thread:

So there is a large volume of evidence that these expenses claims are… suspicious, to say the least – and there is evidence that significant amounts of money were authorised by Patel herself.

This evidence, and the other information provided by Mr Hardy, needs to be investigated fully.

I understand he has received a threat of some form of legal action – that means in the courts, for the hard-of-thinking (I was once accused by a loonie anti-Semitism accuser who actually suggested I was saying that other behaviour by people like them was illegal/criminal), so I would suggest that this investigation happens quickly, to prevent any miscarriage of justice.

And LinkedIn should review its policies on the removal of articles for “misinformation”.

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Huge wodges of your cash have failed to make Patel pretty. Why is she using Home Office expenses to pamper herself?

Either Priti Patel has failed to realise that her Home Office credit card is for government work only, or she doesn’t care and is happy to abuse public funds for the sake of pampering herself.

Byline Times published a list of very strange Home Office expenses claims on Wednesday – and some of them are real eyebrow-raisers:

SELECTED HOME OFFICE PROCUREMENT CARD SPENDING, 2020

23 December: £669, Rachael’s Kitchen Limited
This is the firm that owns the Rachael’s Cupcakes brand

September: £5,415.90, Primark

15 June: £849.50, SportsDirect

2 April: £864, Hair There and Everywhere
This appears to be a hairdressing salon

6 April: £30,000, Global Beauty Products Limited
This firm runs the store ‘Beautiful Brows and Lashes’, but also appears to sell personal protective equipment (PPE)

6 March: £2,022.64, Neptun Qtu Tirane
This appears to be an electronics store in Albania

9 March: £1,040.69, Folkestone Garden Centre

12 March: £3,774.29, Pollyana Restaurant

13 March: £919.81, Entertainment EB

March: SP Beautiful Brows: £77,269.40
This company appears to be run by Global Beauty Products

26 February: £3,952.76, Pollyana Restaurant

27 February: £900, The Magdalen Arms
This appears to be a pub in Oxford

24 January: £2,000, Claudia Lamb Independent
It seems as though Claudia Lamb is a diet consultant

The story has been a gift to the Twitterati:

There is a serious side to this, on which some of the commenters above have touched – which is that Patel and/or others in the Home Office have abused their expenses privileges grossly.

She does have previous ‘form’ in this area of behaviour, though. Some may conclude that she’s now a habitual offender.

While they have been spending public money like water, the Tory government has been claiming it doesn’t have the cash for (as an example) free school meals for poverty-stricken children, or to properly manage what happens to asylum-seekers.

And – sadly – it seems working-class Conservative voters are happy to starve, and to let their friends and colleagues starve, while the likes of Priti Patel stuff themselves full of cupcakes and then charge their dietician’s bill to the public purse.

It isn’t acceptable on any level at all.

Still, we all know what to say next time Boris Johnson says he can’t afford a pay rise for the NHS, don’t we? “What has Priti Patel bought now – Uganda?”

UPDATE: It seems the Home Office has got a bit touchy about this. A few hours ago (at the time of writing) it published the following:

Sadly for the Home Office, that doesn’t explain all the expenses that were listed.

What about the cupcakes?

The hairdressing?

Folkestone Garden Centre?

Pollyanna Restaurant?

SP Beautiful Brows? I think we all want to know what that one’s all about. Did every single asylum seeker in Patel’s concentration camps need fixing?

Not forgetting the dietician, of course.

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Musicians: brace yourselves for the hidden costs of EU touring the Brexiteers never mentioned

Festival: if you’re a musician who regularly performs at EU events, you can kiss those big crowds goodbye – unless you’re getting paid big bucks for your performance.

As a musician myself – even though I’ve never toured in Europe – this is infuriating.

I know musicians who do gig on the Continent, and the new costs triggered by Brexit are likely to make it impractical for them to continue.

Wasn’t Brexit supposed to make it easier for us all to ply our trades? Do you know anybody who actually and materially benefits from January 1 onwards?

Here’s Howard Goodall to explain the bad news:

Last summer, the arts/culture charity I currently chair – Radnor Fringe Festival – ran an online version of its annual event because Covid-19 made a physical festival with thousands of people standing around shoulder-to-shoulder impossible. It was a huge success.

We’re currently working on making the online festival an ongoing thing, with new content by musicians, artists, actors and so on, to be funded initially by donations.

Personally, I see this as one way for UK musicians to get their sounds out to the Continent while the Brexit insanity holds sway.

It won’t be the same as being there at a gig, but it might be the only cost-effective way of being heard.

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Ministers line their pockets as landlords while claiming public money to pay their own rent

Eight of Boris Johnson’s cabinet ministers are leeching money from the public to pay their own rent while acting as landlords themselves, renting out properties to others.

Last year they claimed a total of £145,838 back from taxpayers for ­properties they live in while in London.

While there is nothing illegal in what these people are doing, let us remember that they belong to a party that has consistently filibustered attempts to reform the private accommodation rental sector.

So, for example, Tories talked out a private members’ bill to prevent so-called “revenge” evictions (and the MPs doing the talking were themselves landlords).

And the same landlords also blocked plans to force landlords to ensure their properties are fit for human habitation.

So the following people are living it up, having co-operated in forcing tenants across the country to put up with substandard living conditions or be evicted.

Here’s the list:

Defence secretary Ben Wallace claimed £27,550 for rent in 2018/19 but lets out a flat in south-west London.

Minister without portfolio and Tory Party chairman James Cleverly billed taxpayers £14,400 while letting out a house in Lewisham, south-east London – just seven miles from Westminster.

Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry claimed £13,050 for rent while getting income from three houses in Anglesey.

Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns claimed £18,900 for rent but let a ­property in Cardiff to tenants.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack claimed £11,310 while earning income from two cottages in his Dumfries and Galloway constituency.

Security Minister Brandon Lewis charged £21,795 while renting out his home in Essex.

Attorney General Geoffrey Cox charged £22,680 while letting a property in London and farmland in west Devon.

And Chief Whip Mark Spencer claimed £16,153 for hotels while pocketing rent on a farm.

On top of their £79,468 MPs’ salaries, ministers receive at least £31,680 for extra responsibilities.

Source: Eight ministers in Boris Johnson’s cabinet lining their pockets as landlords – Mirror Online

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Convicted expenses forger’s ultimatum to voters: ‘You’ve got to support me’

Chris Davies: Some of us think he should be behind prison bars rather than campaigning to win back his comfortable Parliamentary seat.

Disgraced former Tory MP Chris Davies has scandalised voters in Brecon and Radnorshire by campaigning for re-election with the words “you’ve got to support me”.

They come at the end of an election communication full of logical contradictions. Let’s examine them – we can laugh at him at the same time.

He begins: “Over 10% of residents in Brecon and Radnorshire have signed the recall petition. That means we’ve now got a by-election.”

This is true – but it was almost 20 per cent of residents who signed the recall petition. With by-election votes being significantly lower than in normal elections, this hostility to Mr Davies seriously harms his chances.

“Over three years ago as a new MP, I made a stupid mistake. I submitted incorrect paper work (sic) for a legitimate expense for my office. As a result, I’ve completed community service and paid a fine of £1,500.

“This is my fault and no one else’s.”

It is welcome that Mr Davies admits that he was responsible for the wrongdoing – even if he doesn’t want to admit that it was a criminal offence for which he was convicted in a court of law. People voting for him would be supporting a convicted criminal and endorsing the actions that led to his conviction.

“I sincerely apologise – to you and to all the residents of Brecon and Radnorshire.”

I doubt the sincerity of this apology. Firstly, he spent nearly a year denying that he had committed an offence and only admitted it when his case got to court. Secondly, my household did not receive this letter so he is clearly not apologising “to all the residents of Brecon and Radnorshire”.

Now he moves on to discuss the by-election. Does he mention Conservative policies that will make life easier for the people of the constituency, or that are already doing so? No.

“But we’ve got a by-election now. And we’ve got a simple choice,” he writes.

“This by-election is between me, who votes for Brexit in Parliament – and a Liberal Democrat, who will block Brexit in Parliament.”

What utter gibberish. Clearly he is terrified of Labour candidate Tomos Davies, who is the freshest face in the constituency’s politics and also the only one whose reputation is not stained by failure. And why not mention Brexit Party candidate Desmond Parkinson, who would also vote in Parliament to leave the European Union and whose party has enjoyed considerable success in the matter of weeks since it was formed?

The fact is that the result of this by-election will be dictated by several elements: Most important will be the different candidates’ policies regarding issues that affect people in the constituency. These are grassroots issues. People will want to know who supports the structures of our society – the services provided by local government, our education system, law and order. Which is the best party (among those standing) to combat climate change? We know the answer to all these questions is Labour. The Tories and Liberal Democrats colluded in dismantling the fabric of UK society between 2010 and 2015 and the Brexit Party is a one-issue organisation as its title clearly states.

Secondly, Brecon and Radnorshire is a marginal constituency where people vote tactically in order to achieve the result they want – but this has not worked well over the last decade or so. In 2010, a majority of people voted Liberal Democrat because they did not want a Conservative government – but the Liberal Democrat they supported (Roger Williams) then went into a coalition with the Conservatives that had been agreed by his leaders two months before the election. His supporters ended up with a Tory government in any case and the following five years were an appalling betrayal of their trust.

In 2015, the Liberal Democrats demanded that the election in Brecon and Radnorshire was a “two-horse race” between them and the Tories in a desperate bid to head off a growing vote for Labour in the constituency. Thousands of voters were fooled and Mr Davies slipped into Parliament on the back of the resulting split in the opposition vote.

And in 2017 the Liberal Democrats repeated the lie and Mr Davies increased his majority.

Finally, Brexit skews everything. There are supporters of every party who are reconsidering where they will put their vote on the basis of their opinion about whether the UK should stay in the European Union.

So where Mr Davies writes: “For the last 40 years, only Conservatives and Lib Dems have won here. It’ll be the same this time round,” he is talking through his hat.

He compounds the lie in the very next sentence, which ends with an ultimatum: “So if you want an MP who’ll back Brexit in Parliament, you’ve got to support me.”

This is a lie. Two parties in this election support Brexit no matter what – the Brexit Party and the Conservatives. Both will be happy to leave the EU without any deal to support UK businesses and the economy, and this could be disastrous for the majority of people here; we have already seen a large drop in production as a result of uncertainty, and what about all the international car manufacturers who are threatening to pull out?

The Liberal Democrats support remaining in the European Union because they think it will encourage people to vote for them – and let’s face it, their performance in the European Parliamentary election – even though no MEP will have any say on Brexit at all – suggests they are right. For a party that is struggling, with only 13 MPs in the Westminster Parliament, it could be a lifeline. But their policies have not changed and they would merrily jump right back into bed with the Conservatives if it meant they would have another taste of power.

None of these parties care about what happens to the people of the United Kingdom. They have ideological or selfish reasons for saying what they have. The only party interested in the well-being of the UK population, it seems, is Labour. That’s why Labour says it won’t support a ‘no deal’ Brexit that will harm the people, and will only support a deal that has a chance of maintaining living standards in the UK. It is also the reason Labour wants any Brexit proposals to go back to the electorate for a confirming vote, alongside the choice to remain in the EU if those proposals aren’t worth taking.

Mr Davies ignores all of that. His words: “A vote for anyone elsse will let the Lib Dems sneak through.

“We saw what happened in the Peterborough by-election a few weeks ago. People voted for the Brexit Party – and they got Labour.” This is a gross misinterpretation of events there. The Brexit Party attracted votes from traditional supporters of both the Conservatives and Labour. If that organisation had not stood a candidate, those votes would have remained in their traditional homes and it is likely that Labour would still have won.

“It’ll be just like that here,” writes Mr Davies. “A vote for the Brexit Party will mean that we end up with the Lib Dems.”

It’s like a bad attempt at brainwashing – or a return to what the Nazis called “The Big Lie”: Repeat a claim often enough and people will believe it.

This time it isn’t true.

“The Lib Dems have promised to do everything they can to stop Brexit. So another MP voting against Brexit will mean it could be delayed again – or even completely blocked.” Mr Davies writes as though any Brexit will be good for the UK. This is a lie.

“The Lib Dems are completely open about their plans to stop Brexit. So if you don’t want ANOTHER MP who’ll block Brexit, then you’ve got to support me.”

That’s his line: Don’t support the Brexit Party because he’ll give you exactly what they are offering. Support a convicted criminal so he can put your livelihood in jeopardy.

I have an alternative proposition.

Think for yourself.

Don’t let yourself be led by the nose, like a farm animal going to the slaughter, by these ideologically-obsessed suits whose only interest is lining their own pockets.

Vote for a candidate who will stand up for better services and living standards in Brecon and Radnorshire, and who will demand that Brexit works for all the people of the UK – not just the rich and selfish – or should be scrapped altogether if the people demand it.

Any other choice is insanity – and that especially includes voting for convicted expenses forger Chris Davies.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Chris Davies re-selection makes mockery of by-election triggered by his expenses conviction

Chris Davies behind bars: Some of us might wish he were in a similar situation permanently.

The shock development in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election – so far, is that expenses cheat Chris Davies has been replaced as the Tory candidate by… expenses cheat Chris Davies.

Is this a joke? Clearly the Brecon and Radnorshire Conservative Association can’t be taking the matter seriously – right?

Well…

With Nigel Farage threatening to do a deal with the Tories if Boris Johnson became prime minister, and the Brexit Party eyeing the ‘Leave’-supporting constituency eagerly, they may have thought it wouldn’t matter if they supported the convicted criminal.

And there were rumours that Mr Davies was threatening to stand as an independent if he didn’t get the Tory ticket, potentially splitting the vote so that neither his own party nor the Brexiteers could get in.

The fact is that those of us who aren’t Tories are unlikely ever to get confirmed details of the facts behind the decision.

Mr Davies himself was upbeat about his selection, as quoted in the Mirror: “A lot has been achieved over the past four years, but there is so much more to do, and I am the right person to do it.”

Yes. A lot has been achieved by the Conservatives in Parliament over the last four years. Let’s consider:

We have seen the central government grant to local authorities cut to the bone, leaving organisations like the Powys Social Services department struggling to honour its duty of care in even the most basic way.

And if you want to know why your local school is hard-pressed to provide educational materials for your children, it’s because of MPs like Mr Davies – not councils or the Welsh Assembly Government.

The misnamed Universal Credit is impoverishing working people and the unemployed alike.

And incomprehensible cuts to sickness and disability benefits have left the most vulnerable people in Brecon and Radnorshire contemplating suicide – because they think death would be an improvement on the life that Mr Davies has forced upon them.

Farmers can look forward to the loss of their EU subsidies after (if?) Brexit happens. The Tories have said they will continue to pay those funds at the same rates for a short period afterwards, but it is likely this will be to get them past the next election before the hammer falls. Mr Davies is a big supporter of Brexit.

The list goes on and on. If you are a constituent of Brecon and Radnorshire, no doubt you could name completely different examples of harm inflicted by Mr Davies and his overprivileged ilk.

So we return to the question of Mr Davies’ re-selection. Is it a joke?

If so, it is in very poor taste.

Source: Chris Davies: Tories RE-SELECT expenses criminal MP to fight crucial by-election – Mirror Online

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By-election for Brecon and Radnorshire after MP convicted for falsifying expenses

Expenses faker: Chris Davies.

A by-election will take place in This Writer’s constituency of Brecon and Radnorshire after Tory MP Chris Davies was convicted of falsifying expenses claims.

Under Parliamentary rules, the conviction meant a “recall” petition would be opened automatically and Mr Davies would lose his seat if more than 10 per cent of the electorate here voted to oust him.

That petition has now closed and it has been revealed that the target number of 5,303 signatures has not only been reached but nearly doubled. 10,005 people signed.

A by-election will take place in the near future.

Mr Davies will be eligible to stand again – but the seat is considered a target for the Liberal Democrats and Labour may use it as a testing-ground for its Brexit policy. Will the party’s local members be able to get their message across on the doorstep?

On a personal note, I’m delighted. Mr Davies was among the first to condemn me – with absolutely no evidence – when I was falsely accused of anti-Semitism in 2016 and it is significant that while I was – and remain – innocent, he is now a criminal.

As an MP, I do not believe he represented the majority of people of Brecon and Radnorshire – but he is not alone in that. During the Coalition government of 2010-15, the Liberal Democrat MP he replaced also carried out the demands of the Conservative-led government and did not hear the pleas of his constituents. I recall the controversy over the anti-lobbying Act in particular.

The Liberal Democrats lost credibility as a result of their alliance with the Conservatives against the people of the UK and I think that is why Roger Williams lost Brecon and Radnorshire to Mr Davies.

But people have short memories – and some may even wish to allow a Lib Dem back in, simply to stop a Conservative, whether Mr Davies or someone else, from regaining the seat.

This will be interesting!

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If Esther McVey becomes PM, will most of the UK’s budget be devoted to making her look good?

Ugh: She might have spent nearly £10,000 of OUR cash in an attempt to prettify herself but it was clearly money for old rope.

On the basis of this revelation, if Esther McVey drops out of the Tory leadership contest it won’t be because of any sexism on the party of her fellow MPs.

It will be because they are concerned about the drain on the national budget caused by her attempts to make herself look attractive.

Who would have thought she would want to spend so much public money trying to make herself seem pretty?

Still, the facts don’t lie: She claimed £8,750 on expenses, over two years, for the services of a photographer and public relations person.

The public will interpret this as an admission that she is more interested in her own image than in matters of importance to the nation.

That should be enough for her colleagues to stop her prime ministerial ambition in its tracks.

Source: Esther McVey claimed £8,750 in expenses for personal photographer | Politics | The Guardian

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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