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House of Lords Expenses Scandal

Comment 16th July 2011

We all know about Baroness Uddin who got away with what I would say is a mamouth expenses fraud.

Uddin claims on her House of Lords Expenses that a flat in Maidstone, Kent is her main residence on which she has claimed £30,000 per annum in tax-free expenses since 2005. This is said to have allowed her to also claim the second home allowance on her London property, a scheme that ostensibly exists to compensate politicians living outside London for the cost of accommodation close to Parliament. Residents living near the flat in Maidstone reportedly said they had not seen any occupiers in the flat since Uddin purchased it and that it has remained completely unfurnished,[14][15] but Uddin claims: “The Maidstone property is furnished and I strongly deny that I have never lived there”.[16] Uddin’s husband even denied having a property in Kent when questioned on the issue by the Times, and she appeared on the electoral roll at her London address from 1996 to date. Additionally her Facebook page states how she has lived in the East End of London for over 30 years.[14]

Uddin claimed a total of £29,675 for accommodation in 2007/8, a time when the maximum daily accommodation claim was £165 a day. Her bill represents a claim at the maximum possible rate for 179 days, more days than the Lords actually sat that year.[17]

Scottish National Party MP Angus Robertson called for an investigation on the report to the House of Lords authorities and the police.[18] Based on Land Registry records, it shows Uddin bought the two-bedroom flat on the first floor in central Maidstone in September 2005 for £155,000. Neighbours living near Uddin’s other property in Wapping have insisted they have seen her daily coming and going, she is known as ‘auntie’ by the Bangladeshi community.[19] Uddin said, “I do not believe that I have done anything wrong or breached any House of Lords rules.” She stated “I strongly deny that I have never lived there. Indeed I have stayed there regularly since buying it”.[18][20]

Uddin has in fact claimed her main home has been outside of London since 2001, earning an extra £83,000 as a result. Despite repeated questioning she has refused to state the location and details of her main home between 2001-2005 for which expenses were also claimed.[21]. In January 2010 The Times newspaper revealed the property she had claimed for during this period was owned and occupied by her brother and his family, with Uddin’s sister in law stating she couldn’t recollect the Peer ever living there.[22] She also has one of the highest claims for overnight subsistence of any member of the Lords.[

The Crown Prosecution Service announced on 10 March 2010 that Baroness Uddin would not face any charges on the grounds that a senior parliamentary official ruled that a Peers “main house” might be a place they visit only once a month. There were no indications that the expenses wouild be paid back.

Why does this matter?

Need I say more… Change the law so this can never happen again and make sure you can go after the law lords like her who have blantantly abused the public purse for millions…

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