Bob Reluctantly Reaches For His Cheque Book

Bandwagon Bob

Bandwagon Bob

FOLLOWING A LETTER from Sir Thomas Legg, our local MP, Bob Spink, has agreed to repay £2,401.38 for amounts, which he had received twice, from his Associated Cost Allowance (ACA) claims.

Legg has confined his attention to ACA expenses, generally referred to as the second homes allowance, raising the question why no audit of members’ Incidental Expenses Provision and Communication Allowances has been undertaken.

Perhaps it is because such an investigation would open-up a whole new can of worms.

Our own worm, meanwhile, has released a press statement, carefully constructed to give the impression that no blame adheres to himself; while readers will be the first to notice that the amounts, as with his IEP and CA claims exposed on this blog, again concern items that have been claimed twice.

Of course, Bob does not use the words ‘claimed twice;’ he prefers to assign responsibility to the fees office and use the term “paid twice.”

His distributed press release says this:-

I received my letter from the Legg Review at 8pm tonight. I wish to be totally and immediately open with the public as I have nothing to hide.

I think the letter to me is incorrect but I have nonetheless, as promised at my public meeting of 6th June, immediately sent a cheque for £2401.38, the full amount provisionally suggested, on a precautionary basis. I hope to be repaid if I can show the review assumptions to be incorrect. I understand that many other Essex MPs are fighting the Legg Review assertions about them.

The Legg Review states that there is no adverse implication or innuendo about my conduct, but asserts:

  1. In 2005/6 council tax of £250 and rent of £100, (£350 in total) were ‘paid twice’. I have no knowledge of this. Indeed, when the widespread double payment of council tax to MPs was highlighted earlier this year, I found that my work flat council tax over the entire period was £4739 and the total payments to me were £4677, so I thought any error would be an underpayment to me. I circulated these figures to local news papers at the time.
  2. In 2007/8 a service charge of £2051.38 was, they say, ‘paid twice’. Again, I have no knowledge of this but will ask for the evidence.

Had this money not been ‘paid twice’, if indeed it was, I would have received those same sums in respect of mortgage interest rather than the duplicated payments, since interest was underpaid to me in each year by much greater amounts. Therefore, if it turns out that the payments were in fact duplicated by some error, I did not gain a single extra penny as a result of that error.

I have identified work expenses which in error I failed to claim, but will not seek to now claim these, I will let the matter rest.

The Review also asked me to give further details of my mortgage arrangements even though these were given in full previously to the Fees Office which formally approved them and agreed the precise apportionment of mortgage to be claimed on my work flat, which I complied with fully.

I previously confirmed with the Fees Office that over the entire period I paid £50,000 mortgage interest but claimed only £28,000 as I was subsidising my work flat from my private funds.

It is clear from this that Bob, perhaps on legal advice, has chosen to pursue a Ronald Reagan amnesiac defence on his expenses issues. To both allegations, made my Legg, he simply says: ‘I have no knowledge.’

It did not work for Reagan either.

Spink is paid to know.

… (Echo, 13/10/2009) – Castle Point MP Bob Spink repays expenses

2 Responses

  1. It is the other part of his ‘defence’ that frustrates me.

    He keeps harping on, to both you and Legg, about the apparent £50000 mortgage interest he was paying – but only claiming £28000.

    So what he is trying to establish is that all his overclaims should be ignored because he was entitled to claim more mortgage interest!

    As if anyone can see Bob forgetting to claim £22,000 to which he was entitled.

    Perhaps Legg is onto this, asking for more information on his mortgage arrangements.

    We can but hope.

    • Sir Thomas has warned MPs, who cannot produce documentary evidence to support their mortgage claims, that they could have to pay back up to £90,000.

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