MP to pay back £22,000 profit from London home
Westcountry MP Andrew George has agreed to pay back more than £22,000 worth of profit from his taxpayer-funded home in London, it emerged yesterday.
The move follows the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) watchdog banning the use of Commons expenses to pay mortgage interest in May 2010, in the wake of public fury over "flipping" and other abuses.
However, transitional arrangements were put in place permitting MPs elected before 2010 to keep claiming the money up to last August – as long as they agreed to return any potential capital gain.
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Ipsa has today published details of £500,000 worth of repayments due from 70 politicians, including £22,534 of capital gains to be paid back by Mr George, the Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives.
Dan Rogerson, Lib Dem MP for North Cornwall, and Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View, also claimed interest on their home loans – but their properties were not found to have made a profit so have nothing to return.
MPs' properties were formally valued at the beginning and the end, and they were given until November 30 to return a proportion of any gain.
Mr George has already paid back £12,534, meaning he still owes £10,000 after the property was sold before the end of the transitional period.
Ipsa has agreed a longer repayment schedule with the Cornwall MP, with the outstanding balance expected to be cleared by January 2015.
In total, the 71 MPs claimed £926,159 of taxpayer cash to cover mortgage interest over the 15-month period.
Mr George claimed £20,859, Mrs Seabeck £15,627.22 for a property in her Plymouth constituency and Mr Rogerson £1,250.
Only one MP has so far not reached agreement with Ipsa to repay the cash – Conservative MP Stewart Jackson, who has been asked to hand over £54,000 in relation to a property in his Peterborough constituency.
Paybacks range from a few hundred pounds in some cases to the £81,446 paid by Tory MP for Clwyd West David Jones and the £61,403 returned by DUP East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell – both for properties in London.
In some cases, such as that of Mr Jackson, MPs were asked to repay more than they had received because the value of their property was calculated to have risen by more than the cost of the interest payments.
Some 42 MPs were found to have made no profit on their taxpayer-funded homes during the period and were asked to repay nothing.
Among others not asked for repayments were Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who claimed £9,104 on a home in his Sheffield constituency, and David Miliband, who claimed £5,903 on a property in his former seat of South Shields.