I back the new Cameron Rules – my allowances

I fully back David Cameron’s announcement of a tough new approach on Allowances. We are right to be apologising to the public. I am a supporter of reform of MPs’ Allowances and have spoken in the House of Commons about this in the past. I was involved in making the decision to start publishing information on Allowances and I support independent external audit and increased transparency. Last year I backed David when he asked us to volunteer much greater information and I already have a link to the currently published information under “Oliver” on my web-site, http://www.oliverhealdmp.com.

I believe the current system needs a complete overhaul by an outside body and I support the wide-ranging review now being undertaken by the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

I will be following the new Cameron Rules and putting up my next claim for Additional Costs Allowance on line. I am also giving the new Cameron Review Body all the old claim forms and receipts, which the House authorities have sent me. The Review Body will check to see if they think any of my claims are wrong or unethical and whether I should pay back anything. I will follow their ruling.

The difficulty in publishing the bundles of documents as they stand is that they contain numerous pieces of genuinely private information such as staff addresses, bank details and the like. These documents have not been fully “redacted”, as they will be for publication. The House authorities are working hard on this and are very aware of the need to publish the details for all MPs as soon as possible. They have brought the date forward from mid-July and now hope to be ready in June.

I claim the allowance to pay for accommodation in London when I am there for Parliamentary work. I believe this is necessary. My main home has been and is in Royston 48 miles from London. The House of Commons now usually sits to at least 10.30pm on Mondays and Tuesdays; on Wednesdays to at least 7.30pm and to at least 6.30pm on Thursdays. The House may sit later on Treasury business or with Government support. I am on a number of Parliamentary Committees and have morning meetings at 9am. The 11.15pm train from London arrives in Royston after midnight and it would be necessary to take a train before 8am the next morning. Although it might have been possible to commute on a short term basis, I believe this would not have been sustainable over my 17 years in Parliament.

From 1992 to 2001 I rented a room in London. In 2001 I bought a studio flat in Lambeth and in 2003 I moved to a 2 bed flat in Lambeth. I paid Capital Gains’ Tax on the profit of £15,000 at 40 per cent. I claim Allowance for mortgage interest (of course, I paid the deposit and capital repayments) and for household costs and necessary repairs. I have never had a flat screen TV. I have never “flipped” my main home designation.

I claim the Office Costs Allowance to pay for equipment and materials for constituency casework.

I claim Mileage Allowance for my constituency work. The North East Herts constituency is one of the largest in the Home Counties and by far the largest in Hertfordshire at 181 square miles.

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5 Responses to I back the new Cameron Rules – my allowances

  1. Daniel from Letchworth says:

    I don’t think you have anything fear Oliver, you’ve been my MP for as long as I can remember and its obvious to everyone how much you do in the constituency. You’re always in the weekly paper and you’ve got this blog too. Keep up the good work.

    Daniel

  2. Jon Doe says:

    After becoming disappointed with politics in my forties I stopped voting for either of the main parties, however after you helped a good friend of mine with an immigration problem (NOT ASYLUM) I have started to follow you. Since then I have come to view you as a man of integrity and I would like you to know I support your latest responses to the current scandal over MPs expenses. I just want to say keep up the good work.

  3. Andrew says:

    It is good to see that my MP is backing David Cameron’s lead on expenses. I am however disappointed however that my own party Labour have been so quiet on this issue, where is the leadership from Gordon Brown? The speaker’s behaviour has not been helping one bit.

    Andrew

  4. Roger says:

    I too am glad that you are backing Mr Cameron’s lead on expenses reform but there are deeper issues to be dealt with.
    You say that “The Review Body will check to see if they think any of my claims are wrong or unethical and whether I should pay back anything. I will follow their ruling.”
    If the review body deems that you or any other MP of any party HAS made unethical claims would you deem that enough to cast doubt on your (or their) suitability to act as a representative of the people?
    I expect politicians to be above reproach and the current lack of morality being shown by an ever increasing number of MPs (as each day new revelations are printed in the press) leaves me astounded and saddened.

  5. tim says:

    It is very good to have an MP with integrity representing us.

    I do hope the next parliament will sweep away the current rotten lot, investigate how we as a country became involved in torture and war crimes and start putting local enterprise and the electors interests before those of banks and global lobbyists.

    Thanks Oliver

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