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New Labour Shadow Chancellor Could Not Get His Expenses Correct

Author : Peter Jones

Ed Balls is married to Yvette Cooper, and together they were actually the first husband and wife team to serve at the same time in the Labour government.

In May 2005, after Ed Balls was elected Member of Parliament for Normanton, Miss Cooper "flipped" her second home to the family house she shared with her husband and their three children in south London. The couple both began claiming an equal share of the £1,466 monthly mortgage interest, a sum of £733 each compared with the £530 that Miss Cooper had been paying in west Yorkshire.

At the time, their mortgage statements revealed that the interest element of their mortgage to be £733 per month.

Only two years later, in May 2007, the couple moved again, to a larger, £655,000 property in Stoke Newington in North London which they designated as their second home. Their joint mortgage interest payments increased to just over £1,031 for each of them.

They also claimed the bill for the £2,000 cost of removal vans and men against their parliamentary expenses.

At one point, after officials had warned them that they had submitted the same claim, for the month of July 2006, twice Yvette Cooper and Mr Balls, the Children's Secretary and one of Gordon Brown's closest ally's had their expenses deducted, for mortgage interest of nearly £1,300.

Mr Balls and Yvette made regular claims for food, usually totalling up to £600 a month.

MPs were entitled to claim up to £400 a month for their second-home allowance, but by both of them taking advantage of this rule, the couple were able to claim substantially more for a single household.

In total in the year 2007/08, they claimed £24,400 (2006/07 £31,900) between them in respect of their second home allowance, which is just a little over the £23,000 that could have been claimed by an individual MP but less than the maximum for two members which would amount to £46,000.

In June 2008, Mr Balls and Miss Cooper were both referred to the parliamentary watchdog over the designation of their second home, amid claims that it was not proper for them to be claiming expenses in respect of their family house in London, where they lived during the week.

After an investigation, John Lyon, the Standards Commissioner, exonerated them. He said that he accepted that their motivation was not profit, as they had paid full capital gains tax following their move.

However this does raise many more questions than answers. The majority of employees do not get their food paid for do they?

Whilst it has been accepted by John Lyon that profit was not the motive undoubtedly having the benefit in owning a much larger house in an affluent area of London on which the interest element is being paid is undoubtdly a great benefit. To me this kind of financial planning puts them in the same league as a Tax Exile.

When these expenses became public knowledge the couple said "After taking the advice of the Fees Office in May 2005, Yvette changed the designation of her second home to London.

As with most Politicians it is never their fault the blame always lies with some one else!

The actual details of their salaries and expenses for the years 2004/2005 to 2007/2008 are set out below:-

Yvette Cooper - Job: Chief secretary to the Treasury - Salary: £141,866 Mr Balls Job: Secretary of State for Children, Schools & Families Salary: £141,866 That makes a Grand total of £283,732. Seems like a great little earner to me!

Yvette Cooper's claims for the second home were as follows:-

2004/05 £19,428 2005/06 £14,234 2006/07 £15,995 2007/08 £12,219

Mr Balls claim for a second home are as follows:-

2004/05 Not elected - 2005/06 £13,618 - 2006/07 £15,979 - 2007/08 £12,219

So the totals claimed were 2004/05 £19,428 - 2005/06 £27,852 - 2006/07 £ 31,974 - 2007/08 £ 24,438

As you can see from the above figures that Ed Miliband the Labour leader has made a choice of shadow chancellor who is a genuis in dealing with his own finances but I very much doubt if he could deal the finances of Britain as he is far too busy looking after his own finances!

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Submitted : 2011-03-03    Word Count : 1    Times Viewed: 1087