Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting PKNEWS to 80360
Taxpayers foot the bill for Helston MP's energy bill
6:00am Friday 8th November 2013 in News
WEST Cornwall MP Andrew George is among hundreds of Parliamentarians who have had some of their energy bills paid by the taxpayer.
The Liberal Democrat MP for the St Ives constituency, which includes Helston, claimed £593.05 for electricity and gas on his London home.
Falmouth MP Sarah Newton, Conservative, claimed nothing, and of Cornwall’s other MPs only St Austell and Newquay’s Stephen Gilbert joined Mr George in submitting a claim – in his case £242.79 for electricity. Camborne’s George Eustice, North Cornwall’s Dan Rogerson and South East Cornwall’s Sheryll Murray all claimed nothing.
The £200,000 yearly bill for heating MPs’ second homes has caused outrage, with critics condemning the expenses claims by 341 MPs as "morally" wrong and "hypocritical." The 309 other MPs in Westminster did not claim.
One Tory MP, Nadhim Zahawi, clawed back nearly £6,000.
The claims were paid in accordance with Parliamentary rules governing the MPs’ needs to maintain second homes – although some clearly need the cash more than others. But one MP, Labour’s John Mann, who did not claim for his energy bills, said: “Perhaps the MPs who have submitted the claims should start wearing thicker jumpers.
“There will be people including pensioners who can't afford to heat their homes who will be furious to find out that MPs who can afford to pay them are putting in such high claims. Government ministers are attacking Ed Miliband for proposing to freeze prices but they don't have to worry about the cost because they can put the claims in.”
Mr George said: “I now rent my London flat and I wasn't aware that this energy bill was included in that sum. I don't think I've done anything wrong - what do people suggest we do? “I could stay in a hotel - I used to stay in a hotel - but that would cost the taxpayers even more. Are people suggesting that we should stay cold? “I don't have my heating on all the time. I cycle around London so my travel costs are minimal.
“If anyone has a better idea of how we could organise this I'm sure the Parliamentary authorities would like to hear from them.”
Mr George made headlines in 2009 when The Daily Telegraph reported how he claimed £847/month in expenses as a contribution towards mortgage interest payments on his London flat.
Before he bought the flat, he put through receipts for two stays at a Grade II listed hotel in central London, totalling £755.48, which were paid by his wife, Jill.
The bills included breakfasts for both guests at the hotel, which describes itself as a “luxury” destination “perfect for business, leisure or romantic trysts.”
In 2010 Mr George returned £4,348.25 relating to mistaken expense claims for hotel costs, phone charges and council tax bills.
Comments are closed on this article.