Conservative Whip Robert Goodwill’s Parliamentary Expenses – an interim report on the Parliamentary Expenses machinations of Robert Goodwill MP (Con. Scarborough & Whitby), by Real Whitby Corruption Buster Tim Thorne.
Most of you are probably familiar with expenses of Conservative Whip Robert Goodwill MP, but I will give a little background for the uninitiated.
In 2000 whilst working as a Conservative MEP for the region, Robert Goodwill MP sparked controversy when he was quoted thus:
“I fly from Leeds/Bradford to Brussels and we get a set fee of around £500, but if I buy a cheaper ticket, economy class for about £160 and £250, I can pocket the difference and, as a capitalist, also as a British Conservative, I see it as a challenge to buy cheap tickets and make some profit on the system“.
The Conservative Party responded, condemning his actions:
“The party does not endorse the fiddling of expenses or the impression given that the system should be made available for personal profit“.
Wikipedia reports the row erupted again during a 2010 General Election debate at Whitby Community College. Robert Goodwill MP claimed the quote was nonsense. Despite claiming the quote was nonsense, Robert Goodwill MP generously decided to give £2,000 to good causes after his adventures in the land of expenses were revealed to his constituents.
Then there was also the little matter of Robert Goodwill MP topping the list of MPs who claimed Petty Cash during 2007/8. Robert Goodwill MP submitted 13 monthly Petty Cash claims of £250 instead of the usual 12 during 2007/8. £250 is the maximum you can claim per month. Robert Goodwill MP said he’d made a mistake with his expenses; he should only have claimed the maximum of £3,000 and reportedly paid the money back.
A quick look at his 2011/12 expenses yielded another Robert Goodwill MP double-dip. On 18/05/2011 Robert Goodwill MP made a claim for £756.38 for his Band E Westminster City Council property ‘Council Tax & BBC’. Just over a month later Robert Goodwill MP made a claim for £145.50 for a TV License.
It seems Robert Goodwill MP will be paying back yet more money in the future due to another double claim.
These amounts pale into insignificance when compared to his London accommodation expenses. Robert Goodwill MP was elected to Parliament in 2005 and, in late March 2006, he bought a property for £295,000 in Pimlico. The cost to the tax payer for Stamp Duty and Legal Fees was £9,731.76, plus a £225 survey for the property. On top of these fees Robert Goodwill MP claimed for furnishing his new flat. There are numerous receipts in the old MPs expenses system for the furnishings, which total many thousands of pounds.
Robert Goodwill MP agreed a £280,000 Five-Year Interest Only Fixed Rate Mortgage with HSBC. Looking at the two expenses systems the monthly amount claimed for Interest Only was £1,165.32 which continued through until 20/05/2011.
Interestingly, there was no first monthly payment claimed in April or May 2006. Robert Goodwill MP waited until 05/03/07 to claim anything for his new mortgage when he claimed eleven months in one go.
Hurray, it seems waiting for so long to make that claim possibly saved the tax payer a little bit of money!
After the fixed term was over Robert Goodwill MP’s “Interest Only” mortgage plummeted due to the current economic climate. The new amount payable was £356.08 and this continued until the end of March 2012. During April 2012, Robert Goodwill MP moved into a hotel for a month at a cost £1,142 to the taxpayer.
May 2012 saw further changes. Robert Goodwill MP moved into rented accommodation. He claimed a £180 admin fee and started claiming £1,451.67 a month for his new accommodation. His Register of Interests now shows he derives rental income from a flat in London. No prizes for guessing which flat.
The recent Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ Programme on MPs expenses raised a few more questions about MPs renting properties. Robert Goodwill MP’s new landlord is Steven Constanti and the Agent is Andrew Reeves Letting Agents. Steven Constanti appears to be a partner at Simon Clarke Lettings Agents. The agent appears to be Andrew Reeves Letting Agents who are specialist in property in Belgravia, Westminster, Pimlico, Knightsbridge and South Kensington. It seems the owner of the property Robert Goodwill MP rents wishes to remain anonymous. Or perhaps it’s just a coincidence that the partner in a letting agency is rg’s landlord.
Given that Robert Goodwill MP doesn’t miss a trick with the expenses system, it is rather odd he hasn’t claimed for any removal expenses – the Parliamentary Standards Guidelines on expenses claims makes clear that Robert Goodwill MP was able to claim for removal cost of his taxpayer-funded furnishings.
Perhaps Robert Goodwill MP moved just around the corner? Or perhaps RG’s new tenant has all those taxpayer-funded furnishings? It is clear that Robert Goodwill MP has a few questions to answer.
No part of this arrangement seems favourable to the taxpayer. We’ve gone from paying £356.08 per month for Robert Goodwill MP’s Mortgage Interest, to paying £1,451.67 for Robert Goodwill MP’s monthly rental fee.
Robert Goodwill MP, being a capitalist and also a British Conservative, really does see every opportunity to make some profit on the system.
Robert Goodwill MP is now creaming off £1,100 per month of taxpayers money – £13,200 annually.
Robert Goodwill MP has also managed to get the taxpayer to cough up nearly £10,000 for his Stamp Duty and Legal Fees for a property that is now part of ‘RW Goodwill, Property Division.’
What an ugly situation.
At the very least Robert Goodwill MP should be paying back the £10,000 Stamp Duty and Legal Fee monies to the taxpayer. After all, we taxpayers did fund the purchase of his new business asset.
Given that the Conservative Party “does not endorse the fiddling of expenses“ neither do they believe that “the system should be made available for personal profit . . .
I wonder if the Conservative Party will be condemning Robert Goodwill MP’s actions again?
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