The ConDem Cabinet — A Millionaires' Club Which Makes You Pay for Their Private Living Expenses
By Mercia — Despite 23 of the Government's 29 cabinet ministers being millionaires, almost all of them demand that the taxpayers pay for their houses and private living expenses (even down to dog food,) a BNP survey has shown.
The Westminster politicians assured the public that the reason they entered politics had nothing to do with money but everything to do with “making a difference” and a noble desire to better the lot of their fellow man.
However, a review of their expenses claims shows that the “difference” these millionaire politicians are making, appears to be more to themselves than the public.
Observers point out that these individuals are wealthy enough to afford their own costs, even if only to pay for their own bed and board.
Furthermore, in a time of increasing austerity, why should the public subsidise the lifestyles of those who are already extremely wealthy and in receipt of a generous Ministerial salary and perks?
This is particularly so when their choice of career was entirely their own. No one, after all, forced them to become politicians.
All of the following cabinet ministers have all been identified as millionaires. The figure in parentheses following their name is the total they claimed in allowances and expenses for 2008/9:
Philip Hammond, Secretary of State, Transport (£132,424).
Only last year Mr Hammond was reported as having claimed £122,586, including £23,075 on his second home allowance, just £8 short of the maximum, despite living within easy commuting distance of Westminster. Quite why Mr Hammond needs a second home has not been explained.
George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer (£167,054).
It was revealed earlier this year that Mr Osborne broke expenses rules by claiming for a £450,000 mortgage on his Cheshire farmhouse, when it was worth much less.
This follows on from the revelation that the taxpayer picked up a £440.62 bill from Mr Osborne for the 200-mile journey from Cheshire to London by taxi in November 2005.
Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State, Culture, Olympics, Media & Sport (£125,739).
In December 2009 it was reported that Mr Hunt had been ordered to repay £9,500 in second home expenses after he was found to be in breach of House of Commons rules.
In May 2009, Mr Hunt came under fire for claiming £37,000 over a three year period for his second home in Farnham rather than commuting to Westminster, as many of his constituents do on a daily basis.
David Cameron, Prime Minister (£152,179).
In May 2009 Mr Cameron took out a £350,000 taxpayer-funded mortgage to purchase a “grand” constituency home in Oxfordshire.
By claiming the property to be his second home, Mr Cameron was able to claim around £20,000 a year for the mortgage interest payments, almost the maximum allowed under Parliament's now discredited second home allowance.
Yet, only four months after securing the mortgage he paid off a £75,000 loan on his London property.
Although this was not illegal and no rules were broken, the fact remains that if he had kept the loan on his London home and borrowed £75,000 less on his Oxfordshire residence, he could have saved taxpayers over £22,000, according to mortgage experts.
Chris Huhne, Secretary of State, Energy and Climate (£149,139).
Mr Huhne is one of Parliament’s wealthiest MPs and owns no fewer than seven houses, including his official second home in Eastleigh. He does, however, make sure that the taxpayer pays for its frequent renovation.
In August 2006, Mr Huhne was reimbursed more than £5,000 for building work that included having two coats of “red rustic timber care” applied to garden items and two coats of green preservative for fences.
On another occasion, Mr Huhne submitted a bill for £77.31, covering odd jobs such as “replacing rope on swinging chair.”
Perhaps, most staggering of all, was a claim submitted by Mr Huhne for fluffy dusters, bus tickets, milk and chocolate HobNob biscuits.
Dominic Grieve, Attorney General (£137,154).
In May 2009, Mr Grieve was reported to be considering giving up his second home in Marlow — which he rents, but for which he is reported as having claimed nearly £19,000 during the 2008/9 financial year.
Beaconsfield, just outside London, is considered an easy commute from West Kensington, where Mr Grieve's main home is located.
Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General (£155,797).
Mr Maud claimed tens of thousands of pounds in parliamentary allowances on a £345,000 London flat situated a mere 70 yards from a house he also owned.
Mr Maude has a home in Horsham which he has declared to be main residence, while his house in Lambeth has been rented out.
William Hague, Secretary of State, Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs (£150,926).
In March 2009 Mr Hague claimed £61,995 in taxpayers’ cash to help pay for a £1 million second home in London. The penthouse in question was purchased in 2003 for £685,000.
Mr Hague also owns a £1 million apartment in Yorkshire and uses his MP’s living allowance to pay his mortgage interest and £4,000-a-year service charge.
Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State, International Development (£163,526).
Mr Mitchell, whilst in charge of the Tory party's policy on alleviating world poverty, claimed £19,000 from the taxpayers for the cleaning, redecorating and furnishing of his West Midlands home and garden.
Mr Mitchell also claimed nearly £12,000 in other expenses between 2004 and 2007, including £2,500 on decorating and £2,650 on a new boiler.
Mr Mithcell also famously claimed for a £395 "Lingfield" table, "Santorini" linen sheets, a duvet and pillow cases, all courtesy of the taxpayer.
In addition, Mr Mithcell claimed more than £9,000 for cleaning and maintaining the garden at the property, including a £220 bill for "gardening and shrubbery removal.”
Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, Lord President of the Council (£148,064).
Mr Clegg billed the taxpayer for £84,000 over a four year period for a new kitchen at his constituency home as well as for redecoration, gardening and soft furnishings.
In total, Mr Clegg claimed £83,824 between 2005 and 2009, including £1,018 in monthly mortgage interest payments, £9,244 in legal costs and stamp duty, £2,600 on a new kitchen and £5,857 on decorating.
He also bought Ikea cushions, napkins and a cake pan, and spent £850 on curtains and blinds.
David Willetts, Minister of State: (Universities and Science), Business Innovation and Skills (£164,610).
Mr Willetts billed the taxpayer £115 plus VAT for workmen to replace 25 light bulbs in his west London second home.
He also charged another £80 to “change lights in bathroom”, part of a £2,191.38 invoice for odd jobs that included cleaning a shower head.
Oliver Letwin, Minister of State, Cabinet Office (£139,783).
Since 2004, Mr Letwin has claimed more than £80,000 for a cottage in Somerset.
His most controversial claim was made in September 2006 when he submitted an invoice for £2,145 which was a bill to “lay a new 25mm pipeline to replace the existing leaking pipeline under the tennis court.”
Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State, Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (£101,786).
Ms Spelman claimed £40,000 for bills and cleaning for her second home, despite her husband claiming it was his main home when he unsuccessfully stood as a candidate in the Euro elections.
Her second home claim of more than £10,000 a year was for electricity, gas, water and phone bills, plus £200 a month for cleaning, and council tax of more than £2,000 a year.
Ms Spelman was also the subject of controversy when she had to repay £9,600 of parliamentary allowances for breaching rules by overpaying her assistant to be both an administrator and nanny.
Cheryl Gillan, Secretary of State, Wales (£159,533).
Ms Gillan submitted a Sainsbury’s receipt for £27.25 for groceries that included £4.47 of pet food. She charged taxpayers for one £3.69 bag of Iams Senior Chicken dry meal meant for older dogs, and two 39p cans of Cesar chicken and turkey meat, along with food and drink for herself.
The previous year, Ms Gillan claimed back a £72.27 gas bill even though the statement showed her account was £26.72 in credit. Shortly afterwards, she claimed £66.15 when her account was £64.35 in credit.
Despite Chesham and Amersham being in easy commuter distance of Westminster, Ms Gillan has a taxpayer subsidised second home in Battersea.
Kenneth Clarke, Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State, Justice (£128,125).
Mr Clarke has homes in Nottinghamshire and London and the Parliamentary record reveals that in the four year period from 2004 to 2008, he claimed over £50,000 in respect of his second home in Lambeth.
George Young, Lord Privy Seal, Leader of the House of Commons (£128,665).
Between 2001 and 2009, Mr Young claimed £127,159 for his flat in Victoria, which is within walking distance of the House of Commons.
Liam Fox, Secretary of State, Defence (£155,838).
Earlier this year, Mr Fox’s appeal against a finding that he was overpaid £22,476.00 in parliamentary expenses for mortgage interest on his second home was dismissed by a court.
Mr Fox challenged the claim after increasing the mortgage on his London flat from £120,000 to £300,000, using most of the capital to pay for a family home in his Woodspring constituency and to refurbish his second home.
Michael Gove, Secretary of State, Education (£161,804).
Mr Gove spent thousands on furnishing his London home before “flipping” his Commons allowance to a property in his Surrey constituency and claiming a staggering £13,000 in moving costs.
Mr Gove also claimed £34.99 for a foam cot mattress, eight coffee spoons and cake forks, worth £5.95 each; four breakfast knives, a woven door mat worth £30 and new patio furniture worth £219.
Furthermore, between December 2005 and April 2006, Mr Gove spent more than £7,000 on his semi-detached north Kensington home of which around a third was spent at Oka, an upmarket interior design company established by Lady Annabel Astor, David Cameron’s mother-in-law.
And these are only the ones we know about.
Little wonder they are all millionaires — the taxpayers seem to have paid for their lifestyles in full.