Sunday, 17 May 2009

Gerald Kaufman

I have long been a non-fan of Gerald Kaufman especially over his slavish devotion to his party -
"Kaufman has never voted against the Labour Government. He voted with the government on the 2003 invasion of Iraq saying in Parliament "Even though all our hearts are heavy, I have no doubt that it is right to vote with the Government tonight"."
so I read with great interest The Telegraph's revelations about this individual. It is a shame that his expenses have received so little attention as I think they deserve it.

So let's look at some of Gerald Kaufman's claims, first £1,851 for a rug he imported from the USA (in fact £1,461.83 for the rug and £389.91 for customs duty on the rug):
"The receipt showed that Sir Gerald bought the rug from the Showplace Antique Centre on West 25th Street in Manhattan for $2,750. The Green Book strictly forbids “antique, luxury or premium grade” furnishings. "
So I assume the "Right Honourable Member" will, be repaying that sum.

Moving on, there is the matter of Gerald Kaufman's London abode:
"A note of a telephone conversation between Sir Gerald, 78, and an official in the fees office, states that his reasons for claiming £28,834 for home improvements between 2005 and 2007 were: “Old flat, facilities out of date, decrepit, health reasons, update, living in slum.” Sir Gerald added that he had “not carried out any repairs/maintenance for 32 years”. "
So the taxpayer has to pay for work on Gerald Kaufman's London flat's kitchen and bathroom because he hasn't done any himself; why should he pay for such matters when the taxpayer will be happy to do so for such a distinguished parliamentarian?

I note that:
"Sir Gerald was also challenged over regular claims for “odd jobs” which he submitted without receipts at a rate of £245 every month — £5 below the then limit for unreceipted expenses. He replied: “Why are you querying these expenses?” "
Why indeed? What could be suspicious about claiming every month for a figure £5 below the unreceipted limit? See his explanation near at the end of this piece.

I also note that Gerald Kaufman appears to suffer from the "don't you know how important I am" syndrome:
"On one occasion he asked a civil servant “why are you querying these expenses?” and on another threatened to make a complaint unless a dispute was settled by noon on the day in question."

Gerald Kaufman has defended his actions and I repeat these excuses here for your amusement (along with my comments):
"Last night Sir Gerald offered to repay the money for the rug and admitted that his claim for the £8,000 television was “a bit daft”."
Daft, well that's one word for trying to claim over 10 times the limit for a television

"He said that his flat had been in need of complete refurbishment because he had “neglected” it over the years and he had overclaimed for the gas bill because he “misunderstood” the invoice."
So he "neglected" his flat and expects the taxpayer to make amends, how reasonable of him. Also I note that one of the most experienced parliamentarians cannot understand a gas bill, speaks volumes does it not?

"He said that his odd jobs bill was actually more than £245 a month, so he had claimed close to the limit. His food claim was “appropriate” because his job meant he often had to “spend a lot of money” eating out, he added."
What "odd jobs" did he spend over £245 on every month? Sounds quite a lot to me. I have plenty of friends whose job means they have to eat out a lot and they cannot claim for every penny of these expenses, they have highly paid jobs and that is one of the costs of having such a job; Gerald Kaufman also has a highly paid job but seems to behave as though his salary is for him and all his expenses should be paid for by the taxpayer.

I suppose it is too much to hope that the local Labour party will deselect Gerald Kaufman but hopefully the voters of Manchester Gorton will see sense and ensure that Gerald Kaufman has to pay for his own carpets, television, gas bills etc. in the future.

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