Tuesday, 12 January 2010

A look at Albert Owen's expenses

The Druid has been taking a look through Anglesey MP Albert Owen's expenses this morning. To be fair to him, based on the figures and receipts now publicly available on www.theyworkforyou.com and the Parliament website, Albert appears to have acted with some probity - certainly no moats, duck houses or even bath-plugs.

Over the period for which his actual receipts are available (up to 2004) his one luxury has been the purchase of a Sony 32" LCD TV and matching DVD Player back in July '07 for a total of £629.99. The Druid can just about live with that.

If one was to take issue, it would be with his food claims. According to the regulations prior to the recent expenses debacle, MPs were entitled to claim for "food - reasonable additional costs while you are away from home" as part of their 'Additional Costs Allowance' - without the need to provide any supporting receipts. As MPs can only eat once whether they are in their constituency or at their second home, the Druid struggles to understand the need for a tax-free food allowance whilst away from home.

You can see Albert's food claims broken down by year and month here (questions marks indicate months were data is not available) and decide for yourself if you think they are fair:

Click to enlarge

As you would expect Albert claims less, or sometimes nothing, whilst Parliament is in recess and the Druid is also glad to see that his average monthly claims have generally fallen over the years. However he is worried by the number of claims that seem to come in at just under the £400 maximum figure. Strange that.

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