MPs' expense claims published
Jun 18 2009 By Matt McKenzie
DETAILS of MPs’ expenses claims were finally published by the House of Commons today - but with much of the detail that led to a public outcry blacked out.
The release of tens of thousands of claim forms and receipts on the Parliament website more than a year after the High Court ordered their publication is likely to lead to demands for greater openness.
It is impossible to identify many of the abuses which came out as a result of the earlier leak of the same material to the Daily Telegraph before crucial details were blacked out.
There are no addresses for MPs’ homes, meaning it would have been virtually impossible to identify so-called ``flipping", whereby MPs switch the designation of their second properties to maximise their claims.
Also redacted are the names and details of people and companies to whom payments were made using expenses.
Correspondence between MPs and the Commons Fees Office has also been removed.
The disclosures in the Daily Telegraph about the claims have forced a series of MPs to announce their resignations in the past month.
Junior Treasury minister Kitty Ussher became the latest scalp last night when she quit the Government following allegations that she avoided paying capital gains tax by ``flipping" her second home.
Today’s official publication covers printed documents and receipts relating to MPs’ claims between 2004/05 and 2007/08 for a series of parliamentary allowances, but with many personal details redacted.
These include claims under the £24,000-a-year additional costs allowance, which reimburses MPs for the cost of having to maintain a second home while serving at Westminster; the £22,000 incidental expenses provision, which pays for running an office; and the £10,400 communications allowance, which covers the cost of newsletters and websites to inform constituents about their activities, as well as details of expenditure on stationery and postage.