Lichfield MP’s expenses claims are published

Michael Fabricant MP

Michael Fabricant MP

The expenses claims of Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant have been published online.

The publication of receipts of all Members of Parliament is the latest move to move restore public confidence in the political system following crisis.

Many of the receipts have had personal information – such as addresses – blacked out but the information on what was claimed is visible.

Mr Fabricant – who claimed a total of £126,074 for the 2007/08 period – has had his Additional Cost Allowance published along with his Communication Allowance and Incidental Expenses Provision/Staff Allowance.

As well as generalclaims for travel, advertising of constituency surgeries and stationery, the 2007/08 figures show Mr Fabricant submitted claims for:

  • The Almanac of British Politics (£61.94)
  • John Lewis non-slip 24-hook tie hanger and John Lewis non-slip trouser hanger set of 3 (£12)
  • BlackBerry curve lambskin leather swivel holder (£18.99)

Speaking this morning, the Lichfield MP said:

“I welcome the publication of claims by the House of Commons today.  In the 21st Century, we must have an open and transparent Parliament.  Initially, I did have reservations about how the Freedom of Information Act would affect Parliament as it would have released information about constituents’ casework and details that could affect the security of MPs and their staff.  These loopholes have no been closed.
 
“But I do hope that political parties and others will be grown up about this flood of information and not deluge MPs with vexatious inquires about every staple or pencil purchase.  If MPs become bogged down in justifying every invoice, they will have no time to resolve problems faced by their constituents or scrutinise legislation properly.  And that, after all, is what MPs are elected to do.” 

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

39 Comments

  1. Wigot

    18th June, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Some interesting claims here, including £250 a month, every month, from petty cash, £35 for some PC “loudspeakers” and spending £822 of our money to advertise his own constituency services in the programme for the Lichfield Festival (which only locla Tories would read anyway).
    The best I could find in a summary first-read was a whopping £249.49 to Jessops for a digital camera. This must be for all the photographic work Mr Fabricant has to complete on our behalf in Lichfield. Can’t wait to get time to read these properly: there must be a hairdressing claim in there somewhere…

  2. Wigot

    18th June, 2009 at 11:11 am

    The Almanac of British Politics order also says he ordered two copies. Gifts for friends then? Interesting.
    Glad I’m not on his Christmas list, mind….

  3. Wigot

    18th June, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Er. Hang on. Surely he can’t have claimed £740 for the services of Chisnall Comer Ismail for filling in his tax returns for him? I really struggle with mine and can’t afford help. Oh, he did claim that? Rightio. Fab’s quote misses the point here: most of us do NOT claim for extras on expenses. You get a work Blackberry, and you’re grateful. You don’t then get a lambskin swivel holster so you can play John Wayne with it, and get work to pay for that too: if you want that, you pay out your wages. Do no MPs realise that the outcry isn’t over things like biros (as alluded to in Fab’s statement), but that no-one in the real world gets fancy extras on expenses. The core stuff – like an expensive laser printer, toner, cartridges, pens, pencils, letterheads and HOC cards – are to be expected. It’s stuff like lambskin covers and digital cameras – which are NOT necessities – that really get on my tits.

  4. Michael Fabricant

    18th June, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    Just a word on my claim for a “lambskin swivel holster for BlackBerry” – it’s just the standard, black holder which clips on my belt. We get just 8 minutes warning for votes and that comes through as an email. The BlackBerry has to be wsitched to virate in the Commons rather than be allowed to ring. Two almanacs were bought: 1 for me (and colleagues) in the Whips’ Office and the other for me up in Lichfield. The advert in the Lichfield Festival programme is to let people know about my surgeries and, yes, it helps support the Lichfield Festival. Plenty of New Labour and Lib-Dem supporters attend too and quite rightly so, The camera? Well, it does get used a lot to illustrate my work as an MP and most MPs buy one or more. We do have a duty to keep constituents informed of our work so that constituents can respond and interact with their MP. (And a lot of those photos are on this very website). I shall be pleased when the Kelly Review reports and we have greater clarity.

  5. Michael Fabricant

    18th June, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    And just one more thing. It’s worth bearing in mind that taking all the different types of expenses together (including the communications budgets, salaries for staff, second home allowances etc etc), my overall claims are still very low. For the financial year ending 2008, I was 569th out of 645 MPs and 536th in the previous year. And the total claims for my ‘second home’ in London are substantially less than the actual costs of staying there. I do not make any claim for my main home in Lichfield.

  6. Gareth Bates

    18th June, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    So in other words, you economise when providing a service to your constituents (which brings your overall claim down), but maximise (joint 1st of all M.P.s) the expenditure on yourself.
    I manage to feed a family of 3 on the amount you typically claim each month for food for yourself at your second home, which when you consider weekends and the amount of time Parliament is in recess, (and you’re on holiday or in Lichfield) seems pretty excessive – especially as you can get a full meal for less than £5 in the subsidised restaraunt in the House of Parliament.

    Accountants bills which us mere mortals aren’t permitted to claim?

    John Lewis tie racks? Really ‘necessary’? (see the Daily Mirror)

    Petty cash? Sounds a bit vague – and you submitted seperate receipts for lots of items of ‘trifling’ value, like ball-point pens, stamps, taxis etc – So what was all this petty cash spent on?

    And on top of that, when your time as an M.P. is done, you can flog that ‘small’ flat you had to buy and walk away with a profit in excess of £400,000 (assuming the £185k mortgage expense is for a 100% mortgage and applying 232% increase – % figures from Nationwide for increases in Greater London property prices from 1992 to date).

    I do think more care should have been taken with the ‘censoring’ of these expenses however, I did note that in some instances account numbers have not been blacked out.

  7. Gastank

    18th June, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    So Mr Fabricant why do you require £4080 a year for food if you eat out and only ever make toast as you claim on your website?
    http://www.michael.fabricant.mp.co.uk/west-0011.ihtml
    His tiny kitchenette is disproportionately small compared to the other rooms in the flat, which have high ceilings, big windows, and chandeliers. His cooker is “virgin” – he only ever makes toast. The rest of the time he eats out in Lichfield or at the Commons, buys a sandwich, or microwaves a ready meal. He flings open the freezer to show me a lonely supermarket chicken jalfrezi. It is, he says with a smile, “the real exposure of my saddo lifestyle”. When it comes to coffee, however, he takes the time to make a proper espresso, and at Christmas time he goes so far as to mull wine.

  8. Wigot

    19th June, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Ah, Michael, you sound as misguided as Harriet Harman sir. Shame on you. Is it really that hard to put yourself in the place of someone earning, say £25,000 a year, who has a family to support on top, who has to pay various taxes as well as budgeting for food and travel to work and everything else that goes along with being a prole, who would simply be sacked on the spot if they made a single nefarious claim on their expenses and expected their employers to pay it? Yes, in this instance your employers happen to be the general public: but we don’t like our employees ripping us off as much as the next boss.
    Of course, I wouldn’t expect you to have that great a grasp on the issues of the common man, this is Conservative Lichfield, after all. But let’s put this into some perspective for you. I have a work mobile phone which I have to have on silent (vibrate) and I simply keep it in my pocket (you know, trousers have them) and the movement of the vibrate (the active verb here) allows me to feel it moving in my pocket, and thus I can take it out my pocket to answer it. Would you suggest, Michael, that an overtheshoulder-holder would be a good solution to the problem I keep encountering here in answering my mobile, which patently does not exist?! Your holster is a *useless* accessory sir, and you can’t even admit it.
    I notice, Michael, that you’ve also chosen not to explain why you got us to pay for the accountants to do your tax return. That, to me, at £750, is one of the most unjustifiable and galling claims: any prole who messes up their returns faces fines and jail. Yet you use our money to pay for someone to do yours? Hardly fair, that.
    Computers and associated hardware/printers etc, biros, some travel, some sustenance and some lodgings, accrued in the course of your work, are very much “okay with me” for claims. But anything on top is a personal item. The advert in the Festival guide: good on you for giving back, sir! But really, do you think we want you to use our money to advertise to us that you are our MP?! We know that, we elected you (well, I didn’t but I could hazard a damn good guess who did!). We didn’t elect you to use our money to advertise yourself to us. If you wish to do that, use your own money and use ours for something useful, please. Again, if you wish to share visual depictions of your political glories via the medium of photography, buy your own sodding camera out your own sodding wages. Christ, I can’t believe there wasn’t even an apology amongst, once again, the very trite, po-faced and nigh-on smug response you, like the fragrant Ms Harman, have chosen to give here. Can you not accept that expenses in all other walks of life don’t even cover living costs (ie food and second homes) and whilst you get those paid for, you then feel justified in claiming thousands of extras on top simply because you are an MP? Talk about inflated sense of self-importance.
    Finally, I refute any claim that £250 a month in petty cash is a fair withdrawl: you’ve got your biros, rainbow post-it notes, printer cartridges, phone bills, phone hire and taxis paid for elsewhere: what the hell does petty cash pay for? It really does sound like you manage to fork out that amount on expensive HoC cappucinos and curries at the Eastern Eye. Your petty cash claims for 12 months equate to about £3,000. You could save them up next year and take some disgruntled proles out for a meal with you? £3,000 would be a great night out. Then we can enjoy the sweeet, spicy taste of our own hard earned money, instead of knowing that you have selfishly and greedily been snaffling thousands of our fine English pounds down your throat in naan form? I have to work for six weeks to earn that amount of cash. Six weeks. You get it as “petty cash.” Are you beginning to understand the differentiation between the remit of an MPs expense account and that of ANYONE employed in the private sector? Again, sir, shame on you.

  9. Wigot

    19th June, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Needless to say, Michael, the point I’m trying to make above is that anyone who needs a “Review” to tell them the MP expenses system is bent needs a good hard punch in the neck.

  10. Michael Fabricant

    19th June, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I know I want satisfy those who are determined to find fault. But just a correction on a matter of fact. The article quoted by Gastank – not written by me – refers to my home in Lichfield on which no claims for food are made. And as for Mr Wigot, your prejudice is there for everyone to read……..

  11. Michael Fabricant

    19th June, 2009 at 11:00 am

    And, of course, that should be “won’t” not “want”.

  12. Wigot

    19th June, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Answer the questions, then we’ll talk prejudice. I figure you owe me a fiver, at least. I’m equally annoyed with Labour (hence the nudging of Ms Harman) and the Lib Dems for that matter, and anyone else who beleived they were “right” to claim their living expenses off the taxpayer. Instead of deflecting your guilt, sir, can I suggest you actually show some degree of understanding and/or remorse for your greed?

  13. Wigot

    19th June, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Okay then, still waiting for answers. How’s this? I subsidise your petty cash for a year and you don’t claim it for 2009/10, and in return, you give us £3,000 worth of humble, sympathetic answers instead of trying to deflect people into realising I am a facist chauvanist bigot who is simply out for a good moan rather than a bit of adequate social justice? I’m really not prejudiced… I know you bother going to meetings and debates, I know you’re oft-referred to as England’s hardest-working MP. I know the people of Lichfield respect you and are happy to have you represent them in Parliament. I don’t even live in Lichfield now, I just take a very active interest in the place. So my apparent “prejudice” is by the by. I think that I’ve justifiably explained my apparent “prejudice” – something borne purely of unrestrained anger at the half-answers and explanations you seem to think will placate us. So there’s my excuse, sir. Now, really, for the last time asking nicely, please give us yours.

  14. Gastank

    19th June, 2009 at 11:42 am

    “The article quoted by Gastank – not written by me – refers to my home in Lichfield on which no claims for food are made”. Even worse – presumably then the food claim is for Monday – Thursday and even if you were in London every week, which you will not be because of holidays this works out at 208 days at a rate of £19.61 per day. Have you know idea how this looks to a normal family when they see a single man claiming this kind of money just for food and then boasting about how they never cook but eat out instead. Just go to a Supermarket (not Waitrose) and spend £78.44 for four days food and see how much you eat. It is the equivalent of a person on an a average salary receiving a 16% pay rise tax free. The article does by the way refer to you eating habits in London “the rest of the time he eats out in Lichfield or at the Commons, buys a sandwich, or microwaves a ready meal” (very expensive ones)”

    Also it notes your photographic hobby which in quite interesting in relation to you camera claim.

  15. Wigot

    19th June, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Good maths, Gastank…. “I know I want satisfy those who are determined to find fault” makes it sound like we’re being really picky and are only highlighting minor, silly amounts of money. When your food, petty cash, camera, phone accessory and accountancy bills are added together for a single year, though, it’s not a question of using a magnifying glass to “find fault.” The fault is there in big black letters on poorly photocopied expenses claims soiled with large swathes of black. I’d have been delighted to discover you hadn’t made such ridiculous claims, but sadly, the facts show that you did. So whilst we weren’t looking for fault, the faults are there for all to see. And I for one am most dissatisfied.

  16. Gareth Bates

    19th June, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    As the Telegraph noted on Michael’s expenses…

    “Regularly claimed £240 in repairs when receipts only needed at £250”

    This is exactly the kind of thing that arouses suspicion – but could be easily explained (like the food and petty cash) – over to you Michael…..

    “My M.P.s will be accountable to their constituents” – David Cameron when talking about M.P.s expenses.

  17. Wigot

    19th June, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Your silence speaks a thousand words Michael. Thanks for taking the time to listen to your constituents’ concerns and address them in an understanding and sympathetic matter. Thank you for not acting like all the other MPs, with their heads somehow both in the sand and up their glutes simultaenously. They all claim to have acted within the “rules” (for it is the rules that were dodgy) or claim that only something as decisive as the Kelly Report could possibly show us thickos in the electorate whether MPs acted rightly or wrongly. Thanks for taking our intelligence into account, Michael. Thanks for showing us the respect that a naughty six-year-old child caught with their hand in the biscuit barrell would show us. Those naughty six-year-olds at least show a modicum of guilt. And even if they don’t mean it (for biscuits are too much of a temptation for seven and eight-year-olds too), they at least say “sorry.” So thank you, once again. I’m off to report the lot of you to the Benefit Fraud phoneline: you get £500 on conviction and I make it, what, 650+ MPs who’ve been milking us like dumb cows all these years? So that’s 650 x £500 = ooh, slightly less than you claimed on food in the past year, but still enough to launch me into the hoi polloi. See you in the Eastern Eye!

  18. Wigot

    19th June, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    Gah. No use getting on your high horse if you spell “manner” as “matter.” Must be late on a Friday. But then, I do have to work a five-day week! Can you imagine that, Michael?!

  19. Ian

    22nd June, 2009 at 7:26 am

    Don’t accept the “petty cash” claims. Demand to see the “petty cash” ledger and the MP’s bank statement as he withdraws that “petty cash” from his bank account (where it was paid into) in order to put into the “petty cash float”. That’s what petty cash is for. In other words there should be a clear audit trail for this cash. If not there is a case for fraud and/or theft. Check out my website and feel free to use the letters to my MP Oliver Heald as a template. Regards Ian Please leave a comment at my website on Mr Heald – helps put the pressure on. Thanks Ian

  20. ian

    22nd June, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    forgot the website sorry – dishonourable.org.uk

  21. David Buscador

    23rd June, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    An interesting exchange. As a conservative voter is pains me to raise this Michael but how can you justify £23,083 pa for Additional Costs of staying in London. As you have explained you bought a flat there in 1997 and at that time I would expect it cost around £180-200K – even with a 100% mortage, isn’t £23K a bit high for interest?

    It was also my understanding that you live in a grace & favour property belonging to Lichfield Cathedral. Is that correct and, if so, isn’t that something that should be declared?

    I join other in questioning £740.25 for your accountant to complete your Self-Assessment Tax form; surely that is an expense that should be covered personally.

    You do a good job for Lichfield Michael but despite being better than most MP’s overall, I do think that there are a number of items that a number of us are concerned about and you need to reconsider.

  22. Cameron Stevenson

    23rd June, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    I know and agree that what has been happening with expenses is deplorable and immoral, however, has the subject not been well and truly flogged to death? Given the background of how this debacle evolved, MP’s I’m afraid merely acted like human beings and given the opportunity, I dare say the majority of us would have acted in a similar manner.
    As I understand it the current system was introduced as a means of supplementing MP’s salaries. This was after a failed attempt to have basic salaries increased. The principle rules behind the system are sound and similar to those found in many commercial organisations, but the implementation and application of these rules is what has caused the problems. The fees office have clearly been told to apply a very generous level of acceptance once claims have been submitted and MP’s have obviously seen this as an alternative to their failed attempt to have a basic salary increase. Understandably, they have taken full advantage of the situation. What I find difficult to understand is their naivety in not realising that at some point in time, the general public would become aware of the detail whether it be from a “leak” as has happened or from legislation. I can only assume that their judgment was severely clouded by the large sums of money involved. In conclusion, I am not condoning what has happened, but given the circumstances and background of the system, would you and I have acted any differently?
    The press have feasted on this for long enough, let’s leave them alone and allow them to get on with the job they are paid to do.
    I am sure the lesson has been learned.

  23. David Buscador

    23rd June, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    I agree with the general point you are making Cameron and by and large the comparison with the way that expenses are re-imbursed in business is a good one. In fact, for a significant part of my working life I live overseas and had the benefit of an expense account and I made a point of claiming for everything that I was out-of-pocket resulting from my activities on behalf of my employer. Note, however, the phrase out-of-pocket; to me that implies money that I would otherwise not have spent. It didn’t mean supplementing my income.

    I do agree that a culture built up in parliament that ‘openly’ considered expenses as an acceptable component of an MP’s renumeration package. However, I don’t agree that we should ‘leave them alone and allow them to get on with the job’ – there will be an election in the next 12 months and before I vote for someone I feel it is my right to ask ‘them’ to justify how they have spent our money (just like you and I would have to do if our employers felt an expense claim was high).

    I have also raised the question of Michael’s residence in Lichfield which I was told was a Lichfield Cathedral grace and favour which, if true, should be declared in the Register of Member’s Interests.

  24. Matt Crewetonman

    23rd June, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Thing that I don’t understand, is why are MPs paid “living expenses”? A living expense in my language is a salary. They already get over £60k p.a. to live off; why then do they see fit to claim additional allowances to feed themselves? Anybody else must live off their salary; MPs should be no different.

  25. Wigot

    25th June, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Michael! Oi! Michael!
    This isn’t going to go away, sir!
    Honest, we’re really quite miffed about this. Your silence is beginning to grate.
    There are several outstanding questions here from your constituents which you’ve chosen to ignore.
    Along with your questionable claims, failing to provide information could be considered fraud. You won’t need the Kelly Report to tell you that, just Google “Fraud Act 2006” and have a looksie at that. It’ll tell you all you need to know.
    For those too lazy to bother to search for the fraud laws (like MPs, who chose instead to have their lives and logic dictated by various half-arsed parliamentary reports), here’s sections 2 to 4 of the Fraud Act 2006, which are all entirely applicable to our glorious political incumbents…

    ***2 Fraud by false representation***

    (1) A person is in breach of this section if he—

    (a) dishonestly makes a false representation, and

    (b) intends, by making the representation—

    (i) to make a gain for himself or another, or

    (ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.

    (2) A representation is false if—

    (a) it is untrue or misleading, and
    (b) the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading.
    (3) “Representation” means any representation as to fact or law, including a representation as to the state of mind of—
    (a) the person making the representation, or
    (b) any other person.
    (4) A representation may be express or implied.
    (5) For the purposes of this section a representation may be regarded as made if it (or anything implying it) is submitted in any form to any system or device designed to receive, convey or respond to communications (with or without human intervention).
    ***3 Fraud by failing to disclose information***
    A person is in breach of this section if he—
    (a) dishonestly fails to disclose to another person information which he is under a legal duty to disclose, and
    (b) intends, by failing to disclose the information—
    (i) to make a gain for himself or another, or
    (ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.
    ***4 Fraud by abuse of position***
    (1) A person is in breach of this section if he—
    (a) occupies a position in which he is expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interests of another person,
    (b) dishonestly abuses that position, and
    (c) intends, by means of the abuse of that position—
    (i) to make a gain for himself or another, or
    (ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.
    (2) A person may be regarded as having abused his position even though his conduct consisted of an omission rather than an act…..

  26. willythewombat

    26th June, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    WIGOT, you are a God amongst men and should stand for parliament. Looking deeply into our good friends claims I note he has claimed for five Blackberry holsters, not only the standard but a Bugatti one also if I recall a gold and a blue one(is he selling them in Lichfield market?).
    Also I think you will find claims for TWO digital cameras, perhaps the first failed to capture his wonderful image in all its glory.
    He also would appear to have a love of printers, I know these annoying little devices are unreliable but 4 in four years…again it’s time to try and find him on Lichfield market.
    As with all these politicians they just don’t get it, stop making excuses, put your shoulders back stand up straight like a man and say the magic 5 letter word SORRY. Perhaps then you can start to rebuild the trust you have so brazenly abused of your electorate.

  27. Roy Westwood

    26th June, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Is it legal for MP’s to claim for Accountancy Fees.? even within the rules of the Houses of Parliament, a simple question, if it is illegal then Mr Fabricant is answerable as would be any other citizen, and must be taken to task. By the way these claims have been made for several years,

  28. David Buscador

    26th June, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    I’ve just been reading the Green Book (http://www.parliament.uk/about/how/members/pay_mps.cfm) which contains the rules for MP’s expenses.

    The first point that became apparent to me is that the claim that ‘I was only following the rules’ doesn’t stand up very well for a lot of MPs. For a start, there are some very clearly stated principles:
    QUOTE
    The principles are:
    Claims should be above reproach and must reflect actual usage of the resources being claimed.
    Claims must only be made for expenditure that it was necessary for a Member to incur to ensure that he or she could properly perform his or her parliamentary duties.
    Allowances are reimbursed only for the purpose of a Member carrying out his or her parliamentary duties. Claims cannot relate to party political activity of any sort, nor must any claim provide a benefit to a party political organisation.
    It is not permissible for a Member to claim under any parliamentary allowance for anything that the Member is claiming from any other source.
    Members must ensure that claims do not give rise to, or the appearance of giving rise to, an improper personal financial benefit to themselves or anyone else.
    Members are committed to openness about what expenditure has been incurred and for what purposes.
    Individual Members take personal responsibility for all expenses incurred, for making claims and for keeping records, even if the administration of claims is delegated by them to others.
    END QUOTE

    There is direct reference to accountants fees for tax returns — under Staff Expenses, an example is given of “Professional advice, for example from accountants or solicitors” as being permissable but paying an accountant for submitting personal tax returns seems to be questionable if one applies the guiding rule “Is this expense genuinely incurred by me in my role as a Member of Parliament as opposed to my personal capacity? and also “Claims must only be made for expenditure that it was necessary for a Member to incur to ensure that he or she could properly perform his or her parliamentary duties”. Hhm, methinks personal tax returns could well be excluded.

  29. Roy Westwood

    27th June, 2009 at 9:24 am

    How vague they make everything, I believe that the cost of completing tax returns must be questioned, I do not know of any other private individual who is allowed to charge for this service against his tax.
    I have written to the ombudsman to obtain an official ruling.

    In truth Mr Fabricant HAS abused the system even if not illegally certainly morally, how can they justify being an MP and a representitive of the public based on this performance.. They are so morally corrupt it is highly unlikely they will fall on their sword. GO FOR GODS SAKE GO.

  30. Roy Westwood

    28th June, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Mr Fabricant – Can you respond on your Tax Return charges, – over the past few years?

  31. Roy Westwood

    30th June, 2009 at 11:25 am

    Mr Fabricant – your silence speaks volumes.

  32. Roy Westwood

    4th July, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    I trust all of the Lichfield electorate recall this silence when it comes to the next election.

  33. Roy Westwood

    6th July, 2009 at 9:52 am

    I received this reply to my question on the legality of MP’s claiming for their Accountancy Fees.
    Dear Mr Westwood,

    I refer to your email dated 26 June sent to the Correspondence Unit in the Attorney General’s Office. Your query has been referred to HM Revenue & Customs and I have been asked to reply.

    You ask about the legal position for MP’s to claim the use of an accountancy firm to complete their tax return through their MP’s expenses and whether the law is different for MPs and members of the public.

    The tax rules governing allowable employment expenses are well established and tightly drawn. It is a basic principle of the UK tax system that only expenses incurred in actually earning income from a particular source are deductible in calculating the tax payable on that income. Relief is available only if the expenses are incurred “wholly, exclusively and necessarily” in the performance of the duties of the job. The relevant legislation is at section 336 Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003.

    This rule applies to employees and office holders across the board including MPs. To qualify for relief a very direct connection between expenses incurred and the actual execution of the duties has to be demonstrated. Accountancy fees for the preparation of an individual’s tax return enable the individual to meet their personal obligations as a taxpayer and tax relief is therefore not available.

    I trust this answers your query.

    Yours sincerely

    Pete Robinson

    HM Revenue & Customs

    PAYE, SA & NIC Product & Process Group

    Earnings, benefits and expenses

    Tel 020 7147 2423

    Will you respond to this Mr Fabricant?

  34. David Buscador

    7th July, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Roy, I think we may have to take another approach to get Mr Fabricant to respond to this letter and my question about his alleged grace and favour home in Lichfield (which, if true, I believe should be declared in the Parliamentary Register of Member’s Interests).

  35. Roy Westwood

    7th July, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    I am open to suggestions, I would have thought the local media would have made more of this,
    Do you know how we can prove the existence of the grace and favour home.
    I do intend to publish all these claims when the next election is called. We should not forget..

  36. nonoftheabove

    13th October, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Welcome back from your short holiday Mr Fabricant, I trust you are one of the MP’s receiving a demand to repay expenses from the Office investigating Mp’s expenses claims. I bet you thought this would have gone away after your holiday. Unfortunately it will haunt you at the general election.

  37. Rosendo

    5th March, 2010 at 7:51 am

    I think it’s time we moved on from this story, it’s now becoming very boring. The Telegraph with it’s irresponsible reporting has completely destabilised the political system in this country to such a degree, that instead of concentrating on more major stories and events we’re stuck in the groove of MP’s expenses. Yes they have been greedy, but I doubt we’ll ever find anyone who hasn’t fiddled their expenses at some time or other. So come on HYS, move on to more important issues.

  38. Unconcerned Citizen

    5th March, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Rosendo – You could watch the Iraq war inquiry in instead.