Monday, 4 November 2013

Will Margaret Beckett please turn the thermostat down!

Browsing the 2012/13 file of MPs' expenses, the entries frequently throw up more questions than they answer. Madeleine Moon, for example, Labour MP for a damp and cold Welsh constituency, only charges the public £70 a year for her gas, with bills not exceeding £10 a month even during the Winter. In contrast, Margaret Beckett's claims for gas are inexplicable:-

Malcolm Bruce Gas Direct Debit £32.00
Malcolm Bruce Gas DirectDebit £32.00
Marcus Jones Gas British Gas bill as per attached £130.68
Margaret Beckett Gas Monthly payment £192.00
Margaret Beckett Gas Monthly payment £192.00
Margaret Beckett Gas Monthly payment £150.00
Margaret Beckett Gas Monthly payment £192.00
Margaret Beckett Gas Monthly payment £150.00
Maria Eagle Gas direct debit £144.00
Maria Eagle Gas Monthly direct debit for gas bill £85.00
Maria Eagle Gas Monthly direct debit £85.00
Maria Eagle Gas Monthly direct debit for gas bill £85.00
Maria Eagle Gas Monthly direct debit for gas £26.00
Maria Eagle Gas Monthly direct debit for gas £85.00
Mark Harper Gas Gas Bill 25/07/12 - 08/11/12 £80.78

Now Beckett is further disadvantaged in that her entries are bare of the sort of additional information - charge periods, supplier details - that add verisimilitude to the claims of her colleagues. If I were the IPSA or one of Beckett's constituents I would want to drill further - by FOI or whatever - for details of these 'gas bills'. 

And it doesn't help either that Beckett has 'form'
"Beckett was found to have claimed £600 for hanging baskets and pot plants by The Daily Telegraph in the 2009 parliamentary expenses scandal. As she had no mortgage or rent outstanding it was queried how she managed to claim £72,537 between 2004 and 2008 on a house in her constituency when she was renting out her London flat and living in a grace and favour flat".

Of course she's no longer young and it may be that she simply forgets to turn the heating off when she leaves her 'duty' home. Either that or she's neglecting the PM's advice to 'switch' and is paying an over-greedy energy firm. Either way, it seems an outrageous waste of public money when so many hard working families can hardly afford to turn the gas on at all this Winter. Beckett clearly needs some expert intervention on the nation's behalf.

3 comments:

Span Ows said...

why are we paying their energy bills anyway? most people have to use their wages to pay bills.

Demetrius said...

How unfair. Surely it is her Human Right to leave the windows open with the heating going full blast? Also how nice of her to give us the privilege of paying for it.

Tom said...

Demetrius +1

You'd think this would be an opportunity for the herds of "Energy Advisors", finger wagging NGOs and quasi gubmint departments to scuttle over to Maggie's place and practice what they preach eh?

fat chance.