|The Boswell family. Not too different from our Westminster MPs|
Those of you who remember Bread, a British television sitcom, written by Carla Lane, produced by the BBC and screened on BBC1 from 1 May 1986 to 3 November 1991. may record that family in the series the Boswells had an interesting means of claiming housing benefit .
The Family lived in the house that was owned by Grandad who lived Next door in a house owned by them.
So they would raise each others rent and claim it back from the DHSS.
I doubt if this would really have been allowed but the indication was given that it was not illegal.
Whilst the latest revelation from the Telegraph make an interesting comparison....
Members of the House of Commons, including former ministers, are claiming expenses of up to £20,000 a year each for rent as well as receiving rent from properties that were often purchased and refurbished with taxpayer assistance.The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority confirmed that at least eight MPs are either letting properties to, or renting from, another MP, a loophole in the rules that effectively allows them to continue building up property nest-eggs at taxpayers’ expense.Research by this newspaper using official parliamentary records shows that the 27 MPs who are renting London homes while claiming rental income for other flats include Liam Fox, the former defence secretary, Chris Bryant, the shadow immigration minister, and former defence ministers Peter Luff and Nick Harvey, as well as David Amess, a Tory MP.While they have done nothing wrong under parliamentary rules, the disclosures will prompt questions about how taxpayers’ money is being used and lead to greater demands for transparency from MPs about their expenses.
Daily Telegraph 18 October 2012
Whilst there seems that the MPs may not be "Doing a Boswell" it does seem that they are exploiting a loophole in the same fashion that Tax Avoiders do
On Thursday, The Daily Telegraph disclosed that the Speaker of the House of Commons had attempted to prevent the new expenses regulator from disclosing the identities of MPs’ landlords, which would have allowed the public to work out which MPs were renting their homes to each other. John Bercow claimed in a letter to the watchdog that the release of the information would jeopardise security.
It would be a pretty poor activist who couldn't find a MPs address and this looks a pathetic excuse, and a smokescreen in an attempt to cover up another expenses scandal.
For Rhondda Labour MP Chris Bryant, it may be he has relinquished the Moral High Ground he justifiably gained during the "Hacking Scandal.".
I don't think this story is over yet and while these MPs may have doing illegal they are not in a position to criticise others for exploiting loopholes in the system and one wonders how many other legal loopholes are being misused by those in power.