Friday, 29 May 2009

Questions for Cash

The issue with Bill Cash's allowance claims seem to be as much about his son as his daughter.

On R5 today, he explained that he moved out of his Pimlico property and into his daughter's flat while his son stayed rent-free in Pimlico.

I don't know how big Bill Cash's Pimplico flat is, but it seems it wasn't possible for son and father to stay together. This implies the flat has just one bedroom.

Staying at his daughter's flat and paying what he insists was a market rent, did not abuse the taxpayer in 2004 parliamentary rule terms provided he was genuinely London homeless.

Should he have vacated the Pimlico property he owned in favour of his son, given this resulted in an allowance claim on the taxpayer? It put him in no different a position from most MPs claiming second home allowance in London. So the question is not whether he complied with the rules but whether his actions were morally reasonable.

After his daughter sold her flat — and the profit she made on the property is surely irrelevant — Bill Cash appointed two London clubs as his official second home. He charged the taxpayer for staying there and also for his wife to stay some of the time. Again, the same question as above applies.

Given the extended stay of Bill Cash's son in Pimlico, it is unlikely the affair was a ruse to guarantee his daughter rent. She could easily have rented her flat to anyone. So the greatest favour Bill Cash was providing was, in fact, to his son.

Bill Cash making himself homeless created a burden on the taxpayer. It was no more, and possibly less, a burden than that paid to most MPs with distant constituencies. But was this 'right'?

In reality, a similar question might be asked of an independently wealthy MP claiming second home allowance in London. Is he or she 'right' to claim for a second home when they have the means to pay for two homes themselves?

That's a question only the taxpayer can answer. But for myself, I think means tests dividing MPs between rich and poor is not the way to go.

Bill Cash has been balancing loyalty to his family with loyalty to the taxpayer. His constituents in Stone should know whether he deserves their support. I hope he gets it.

1 comment:

kensington and chelsea said...

He surely has enough money to not need the government to pay for his flats.