Thursday, April 21, 2016

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Crabb Grab

Mick Hall @ Organized Rage writes about the Tory minister Stephen Crabb grabbing for the expense account.

Stephen Crabb new Work and Pensions secretary one of MP's caught up in the expenses scandal

Many Tory MPs will have spent the weekend telling their constituents via the local paper about their friend Stephen who was raised by a single mum in Wales. His mum was dependent on Benefits to support the family but she wanted the best for her kids. She worked part time so she could buy a car to work her way up to come off benefits.

The Stephen in question is Stephen Crabb the new Work and Pensions Secretary of State who replaced Iain Duncan Smith. The above Tory guff was part of a PR circular sent out from Conservative Party central office to all Tory MPs in the hope they would use it as camouflage to hide the split within the party over the EU referendum.

Far from being a working class hero Stephen is a typical example of Fuck you, I've got the foreman's job at last. His record of voting in Parliament shows he supported every one of the odious Iain's benefit cuts including the recent cuts made to benefits received by the disabled.

What Tory MP's like Thurrock's Jackie Doyle Price will not be telling their constituents is the saintly Stephen was one of the MPs who were caught up in the expenses scandal which was revealed by the Daily Telegraph. He claimed his main home was a room in another MP’s flat, after buying a new house for his family at taxpayers’ expense.

According to the Telegraph investigation into the expenses scandal:

Mr Crabb claimed more than £8,000 to refurbish a flat in London and sold it for a large profit. He then “flipped” his second home expenses from the flat to a house he was buying for his family in Wales.

The MP then designated a room in another flat, rented by
Daniel Kawczynski, a fellow Tory backbencher, as his main home. When approached by The Telegraph, Mr Crabb said he made the flip after being encouraged by an official in the Commons fees office.

Mr Crabb bought the original flat in Southwark for £68,000 in 1997. Over seven months, from July 2006, he took advantage of the small mortgage interest charges on the flat to claim £8,049 for refurbishment.

This included £1,451 on repainting, £549 for a sofa and £435 for bedroom furniture at John Lewis, where he also claimed £500 for a goose down duvet and corner TV unit.

Mr Crabb claimed a further £662 for a leather chair, £535 on three rugs and £350 on a coffee table from Laura Ashley. Having claimed for refurbishing it, Mr Crabb sold the flat for £240,000 in September, 2007.

He then switched his allowances from the flat to the new £310,000 family house in his constituency of Preseli Pembrokeshire, Wales, where he lives with his wife, Beatrice, and two children.

This allowed him to claim £9,300 in stamp duty and £1,325 per month in interest on its mortgage. Mr Crabb said “an official in the fees office” told him, “Steve, I’m looking at your allowances and you’ve spent hardly anything”.

“He said, 'you’d get more for your allowances if you switched’,” Mr Crabb said.

He made the switch and claimed the stamp duty on his new house. He assigned a room in the flat rented by Mr Kawczynski, the MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, as his main home and began to pay half the rent. Commons officials were informed. He continued claiming mortgage interest for the Pembrokeshire house until August last year. In all he has claimed £67,633 in second home expenses since 2005.

Mr Crabb said he had since moved out of Mr Kawczynski’s flat and into another. He said he had flipped his expenses to this flat because he was carrying out renovations to the Pembrokeshire house and it “didn’t feel right” to use taxpayers’ money.

Mr Crabb said: “I haven’t claimed for things like plasma TVs, even though the rules allow it. My claims were always within the letter and the spirit of the rules.”

Stephen Crabb

Job: then backbench Conservative MP, now Secretary of State for Works and Pensions
Salary: then £64,766 plus expenses, now £141,505 plus expenses

Total second home claims until 2008
2004-05: £N/A
2005-06: £19,854
2006-07: £19,854
2007-08: £22,243

He didn't stop there his full expenses claims can be downloaded here