09 May 2009

Mr Moral Compass

If you are feeling sorry for Gordon Brown, well stop it. Here is Littlejohn in The Mail:
When he was Chancellor, he had a grace-and-favour apartment in Downing Street and a bolt-hole flat nearby, which he bought in a fire sale from the estate of the late crook Robert Maxwell - appropriately, you may think, given that Gordon appears to have modelled his pensions policy on Captain Bob's.
Until shortly before he became Prime Minister, Brown designated his bolt-hole as his 'second' home for the purposes of claiming allowances, which included paying his brother six grand for 'cleaning services' - as you do.
With all the accounting acumen for which he is legendary, he even spread the cost of a £9,000 new kitchen from Ikea over two financial years, which allowed him to stay just within the maximum second home allowance limit.
When he inherited No 10, he followed the example of any shrewd businessmen looking to keep as much of his own hard-earned as possible - he put the flat in his wife's name.
This left him free to switch his house in Scotland to his 'second' home. Consequently it, too, has now been extensively renovated at the expense of taxpayers, who also pick up the tab for his gardener and cleaner.
Another bonus is that if he sells the flat when he's kicked out of office next year, he won't be liable for capital gains tax - which he would have been had it remained his 'second' home.
Cute, eh? No loopholes, exemptions, avoidance or special allowances there, then. But given that he's lived pretty much cost-free in Downing Street for the past 12 years, we might ask why Gordon has charged anything on his expenses. After all, just because he can, it doesn't mean he's obliged to.
He's not short of a bawbee or two and is famously parsimonious. And as Prime Minister he's paid £194,250 year and rarely has to put his hand in his own pocket. He's got a six-figure, index-linked pension to look forward, too, and no doubt a few directorships in the pipeline.
So why does he stoop to charging taxpayers for tarting up his house in Scotland and paying his gardener and cleaner, let alone picking up the tab for his lightbulbs and Sky Sports subscription?

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