Sunday, 10 November 2013

Snouts (or should that be Muzzle) in the Trough Take 2!

So Nadhim Zahawi proffers an apology on claiming energy expenses on his 2nd  home which is based in his constituency Stratford-Upon-Avon, as he already lives in a £5 million home in London and for this he expects the story to end?

Not a chance. Zahawi is only apologising for PART of his energy bill. That part is for the "ordinary extras" one would expect on a house like stables and a mobile home in the grounds of his 2nd home. Yeah right Mr Zahawi - we all have those don't we?!

Get real man! Not only have you claimed £5.8k on energy expenses, as this is your 2nd home (your 1st home is in London within spitting distance of the House of Commons) but it does not take much working out to know that you would only be in your constituency Friday-Sunday at most! MPs are in London Monday-Thursday, so your claim for nearly £6,000 is even more obscene than first thought!

Moving on, we must then ask the next question. What regulations are there on MPs 2nd homes? Surely a 1 bed flat is sufficient? And surely with a London based 1st home anyway, MPs like Zahawi shouldn't qualify for a 2nd home just to "reside" in their constituency on weekends? The whole point of a 2nd home us naive voters think, is for MPs to conduct business in London as they do not live within commutable daily distance of their constituencies, not the other way round in Zahawis  case!

So Zahawi has a 2nd home that provides the luxury of extensive grounds and stables. Abhorrent on every count again. Why no restriction on size of property? Which then begs the question why are we paying to subsidise huge energy bills on clearly a 2nd home that is lavish enough to warrant a £5.8k energy bill claim?

Even though Zahawi "lives" in Tory Stratford, 1100+ of his constituents have rightly protested on Facebook about his Robber Baron type energy expenses claim. While his own constituents worry about how to pay their heating costs, they have to put hand in pocket to pay this multi-millionaires heating costs too!

We must rage against these 2nd homes for MPs and have clear rules on size of home, location and what a reasonable expense is. Renting a 1 bed property in London for those MPs living 80+ miles from London is a start. Then setting out reasonable expenses. But MPs could surely be expected to pay their own energy bills on a 2nd home. They earn £66k minimum. Or an amount of £500 per year for energy would be more than reasonable.

Banish MPs like Zawhawi from having a 2nd home. No need when he lives in London. If he wants to parachute into his constituency every weekend, there are plenty of budget hotels he can pay for out of his own pocket, or he could downsize his London home and pay for a modest 2nd home himself in Stratford-Upon-Avon.

One final point. Zahawi says he is "mortified" he made a mistake on claiming for the stables and mobile home energy. If someone on benefit makes a mistake they face jail. If they miss an appointment even for a valid reason they face immediate benefit sanctions. Think we should apply the same to "mistaken " MPs.