Monday, March 29, 2010

They have the nerve for anything

You'd think after all the mudslinging, the court cases, the shame, the payments back and the ongoing troughing that MP's would back away from going after benefit cheats, at least openly.

Thousands of council tenants who make profits by illegally sub-letting their homes will face tough new measures to be announced by ministers this week.
John Healey, the Housing Minister, plans to introduce penalties for cheats and give councils greater powers to track them down, The Times has learnt.
Sub-letting fraud is a civil offence punishable by a modest fine and the loss of tenancy. But Mr Healey intends to make it a criminal offence so that the courts can recover the profits made. Those convicted could also face larger fines and prison sentences.
Some tenancy cheats are making up to £20,000 a year by moving out of their council home and renting it to friends, family or private tenants. In a minority of cases council tenants have been found sub-letting two or three properties after moving between different authorities.
£20,000 is a lot of money, not as much as your average MP claims in expenses though and even when they do cross the line, all they are expected to do is pay (some of) it back, apologise and carry on troughing.
• Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, claimed money for three different properties in the course of a year, and spent almost £5,000 on furniture in just four months after buying a third property.
• Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, claimed back twice as much for his council tax as he had actually paid. He later repaid the money and apologised for the error.
• Paul Murphy, the Welsh Secretary, splashed out more than £3,000 on a new hot water system for his second home, explaining in a letter to the parliamentary fees office that his water was too hot.
• Harry Cohen claimed more for his second home  and expenses than any other MP in London, in fact his annual expense claims of £123,718 are £30,000 higher than neighbouring Walthamstow Labour MP Neil Gerrard’s claim of £92,228 and greater than Chingford Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith’s allowance of £104,222.

If we do that sort of thing they are threatening to lock us up, they are giving councils extra powers (big mistake) to track down cheats whilst continuing to cheat themselves and make cheating the system a criminal offence.
Though I suspect that MP's will be exempt due to some small sub clause being inserted into the bill at committee stage.

We really need a purge of Parliament, not an election, no current sitting MP should be allowed ever to stand again, I know this is drastic and there are (possibly) some good MP's, but the entire system is corrupt to the core and we need a new broom to free us from the taint of the trough as well as the clutches of the EU, an even bigger set of thieves than we have.

5 annotations:

subrosa said...

I completely agree and there should be some form of assessment/examination of prospective Westminster candidates. Just to be a party favourite isn't good enough.

Antisthenes said...

I agree that there is the stench of double standards here, however corruption is corruption where ever it is found.

That said the point about cleaning up Westminster and the EU is by far more pressing and serious, I despair that it has now become an impossible task.

Democracy can not be relied upon to sort out the problem for three good reasons. Firstly the greater part of government bodies in the UK and EU are unelected. Secondly 13 years of Labour have seen the decline of morals and standards in the nation as a whole so what was once considered gross and unacceptable is now greeted with a shrug. Thirdly politicians are not going to give up their corrupt ways if there is no effective way to punish them and as they control the means for that punishment they will ensure that any punishment is muted.

James Higham said...

I'm a bit both ways on this. Yes, these benefits cheats need to be stopped because they are costing the taxpayer big. But no, the way the government goes about anything it touches is wrong and they'll then waste the recovered money somewhere else.

Dark Lochnagar said...

It doesn't matter. Two wrongs don't make a right as my mother used to tell me. Just because MPs are thieving bastards doesn't allow anyone else to do it. We as a society must rise above it.

Quiet_Man said...

Oh I agree it's not right, I was just pointing out the hypocrisy of cheating MP's going after benefit cheats.