Sunday, 24 May 2009

Oh come on...

The Times's reveals that
"ANDY BURNHAM, the culture secretary, has apparently avoided thousands of pounds in capital gains tax by channelling a £16,600 property windfall through the parliamentary expenses system.

Burnham was given the money by a property developer to persuade him to move out of a flat he rented in Dolphin Square, a desirable apartment block near the Palace of Westminster. Tax experts say he would normally have been liable for a tax bill of up to £6,665 on the windfall.

The Commons authorities instead agreed to bend their own rules, and added the windfall to his second home allowance, which is exempt from tax. The special deal meant he was able to claim more than £32,000 on his second home allowance for a single year - far beyond the maximum £21,643 then permitted under the Commons rules. It is believed to be the highest amount ever claimed. "
So will Gordon Brown use his famed moral compass to dismiss Any Burnham or will he continue to protect his favourites like Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper, Geoff Hoon and Andy Burnham? Will the BBC report this sleaze story or will they prefer to concentrate on Conservative MPs?

The report continues
"Burnham was also given permission to claim expenses for the Dolphin Square apartment and a new flat in Lambeth at the same time.

Parliamentary rules state an MP can claim against only one property, but the arrangement was approved by the fees office. Burnham’s Dutch wife, Marie-France van Heel, handled most of the claims.

Other MPs refused to accept the money when they moved out. Tom Harris, the former Labour transport minister, was offered £10,000 by Dolphin Square but turned it down.

However, Tony Wright, chairman of the public administration select committee, accepted a £10,000 payout to surrender his tenancy agreement. He opted to remain at Dolphin Square, paying a higher rent. The disclosures raise Continued fresh questions about the apparent double standards operated by Gordon Brown, who last week refused to censure James Purnell, the work and pensions secretary, and Geoff Hoon, the transport secretary, for their failure to pay capital gains tax. He previously said a similar move by Hazel Blears was “totally unacceptable”."

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