Monday, 30 April 2012

Anything to Declare?

This evening I have been having fun with the Register of Members' Financial Interests.

I can tell what you're thinking - that man knows how to live... Well, you may think that, but it really is quite interesting. Honest. So; what have the great and the good been claiming?

Well, here are a few examples, taken from the 2010-2012 register, as at the 16 April 2012 update. I'd like to say they have been taken at random, but in reality it's more a selection of prominent and topical figures, starting with the three party leaders.

David Cameron declares an honorary life membership - worth £1,150 p.a. - of the Carlton Club, gifted by  the Ellesborough Golf Club to him as leader of the Conservative Party. 

He also declares discounted Personal Training rates to a value of £4,475 from Celebrity Fitness Trainer Matt Roberts (or, at least, his company). It appears that this was offset by a personal donation to a charity of his trainer's choice. The question is, though, if the discount is £145 per session, what's the full cost?!

Finally, Cameron declares income from Residential Property in London.

Next up, Nick Clegg. Short and sweet, he declares an honorary life membership  of the National Liberal Club - worth £560 p.a. plus £280 joining fee - gifted by the club itself to him as leader of the Liberal Democrats.

Ed Miliband (or Edward, as he is listed in the register) declares a number of contributions to his office - some of which relate to his leadership campaign. Briefly, though, these are:

£15,190.08 from Unite
£5,000 from Lord Evans of Wakefield
£34,712 staffing costs for May to December 2011 (plus a computer) from Lord Sugar of Clapton (yes, that Lord Sugar)
£1,889.40 towards office costs from Eddie Izzard
£8,950.80 as a donation in kind for employment costs of a member of staff for 20 days(!) of work
£50,305 staffing costs for January to December 2012 from Lord Sugar of Clapton

Harrods Christmas Hamper valued at over £660 from the Sultan of Brunei (I do wonder how many Greggs Pasties that contained...)

Vince Cable has a contract with Atlantic Books for book on state of economy (£15,001 - £20,000)

My MP, Dawn Primarolo, has a nil-return.

Jeremy Hunt received £1,000 per month for 2 hours a week's work "of an advisory nature" for Hotcourses Ltd through 2009. His constituency party also received gifts (reportable to the Electoral Commission and, under new rules, no longer required to be declared on the Members' Register as well) totalling £12,550 in 2011.

In addition, he received support for his office costs from Hotcourses Ltd and a Mr John Lewis (no, not that John Lewis). He also declares rental income from half-shares of a holiday house in Italy and an office building in Hammersmith.

Danny Alexander received two BAFTA tickets (worth £750 each) from Pinewood Studios.

As I said, a not-too-random but intriguing sample - why not have a go yourself!



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