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Two Scottish Executive Ministers revealed to be charging mortgage interest payments to the public.

04 Oct

 Following last week’s revelations in the Sunday Herald newspaper of John Home Robertson MSP who was caught out charging some £7000 a year to the taxpayer to rent a flat his 17 year old son bought for £72,000 in 1999 (with no mortgage), two Liberal Democrat Scottish Executive Ministers have now been caught out charging mortgate interest payments up to the taxpayer via their Scottish Parliament ‘Edinburgh Accomodation Allowance’.

Transport Minister Tavish Scott MSP is charging the public nearly £1000 a month in mortgage interest payments to help him buy a £380,000 house in Edinburgh.

How about Transport Minister Tavish Scott gets a smaller place ? does he need a £380,000 house in Edinburgh to do his work as an MSP ? Shouldn’t he be a bit more ‘greener’ for being Transport Minister ? .. or is he just another LibDem milker … like Environmental Minister Ross Finnie MSP , who has also been caught out doing the same .. where the Sunday Herald also reports Finnie’s wife signed over her rights to an Edinburgh property so her husband could claim £2500 a year in mortgage interest payments, from the taxpayer – via his Parlianemt expenses …

A quote from the Sunday Herald article on Tavish Scott :

Land registry documents show that most MSPs have used the allowance to buy small flats in central Edinburgh costing between £80,000 and £100,000. But Scott has taken advantage of the generous system by purchasing a house last year in Morningside worth £380,000, on a mortgage of £265,000.

Parliamentary records show he is now billing the public £979 a month in interest payments on his mortgage – the highest charge of any MSP. Scott is also entitled to claim the £1920 council tax on his new band-G house.

An identical property for sale in the same street, inviting offers over £350,000, has three bedrooms, a “lovely private garden”, and a conservatory and patio.

The purchase of the house is only part of the LibDem minister’s use of the accommodation allowance.

The MSP bought his first property through the scheme in 2002, a £112,000 flat at Lower London Road sold to him by his sister. Figures show he claimed around £500 a month in mortgage payments for the property. He sold the flat last year for £148,000, pocketing £36,000 in profit. This allowed him to buy the much bigger property in Morningside.

Must be good for some then ? .. while the rest of the country is swimming in a sea of mortgate debt, with lots of families having to almost live from salary cheque to salary cheque … our politicians can rape the taxpayer for anything they want .. including buying lavish housing and getting us to pay their mortgages .. even selling on their properties & making huge profits to boot !

Well, my personal opinion of the LibDems .. or ‘FibDems’ has always been pretty low .. after all, remember, I lived in the Scottish Borders for a long time (regrettably) .. and the Region was represented by the likes of MPs Archy Kirkwood & the other guy .. keep forgetting his name, he’s so unimportant .. Moore .. I think .. and well, the MSPs for the Borders are equally as bad … for all the bluster of Christine Grahame …. she couldn’t lift a finger to help the likes of me or anyone else who had been ruined by the legal mafia … but maybe that came from not being able to see through the usual ‘haze’. Look at the likes of the others in the region .. David Steel .. etc … I’m sure those people only stayed at Westminster as they got the fools in the Borders to vote for them continually … if they had been anywhere else, their idiotic and incompetent antics would surely not merit a single vote.

Tommy Sheridan MSP seems to be one of the few MSPs coming out to say much on this .. but I think he should be doing more than writing to the Presiding Officer on it … after all, I’ve had my own experience with George Reid .. and that ‘predecessor’of his, David Steel, on matters related to MSPs dealings on issues of crooked lawyers & involvement with the legal profession … and I can safely say .. Reid and the rest of them won’t do much because in some way or another .. they are all at it. If you want to do something, Tommy .. dish the dirt on the lot of them … because there’s a lot of dirt, as we both know and it’s high time it was out. Let the public see who their representatives at Holyrood really are and what they are up to.

I think I will let the two articles from the Sunday Herald speak for themselves – and once again, my congratulations to Paul Hutcheon and the Sunday Herald News team, exposing these scandals over at that thing we were sold for $1billion, as the Scottish Parliament – but has turned out to be as crooked & corrupt as .. well, I can’t think of a comparison right now… but, of course, more revelations to come !

Link at : http://www.sundayherald.com/58943

Revealed: more MSPs benefit from Holyrood property gravy train

By Scottish Political Editor Paul Hutcheon

A Scottish Executive minister is charging the public nearly £1000 a month in mortgage interest payments to help him buy a £380,000 house in Edinburgh.

Tavish Scott, the transport minister, has doubled the amount he bills the taxpayer for the property perk despite making a £36,000 profit last year on another flat bought with help from the public purse.

He has previously claimed rent on a flat which at the time was owned by his sister.

The revelations are further blows for the widely discredited Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance.

The parliamentary scheme allows MSPs to either claim mortgage interest payments on a property in the capital, or to rent, or to stay in a hotel.

Last week, the Sunday Herald disclosed that Labour MSP John Home Robertson was using the system to bill the public £7000 a year to stay in his son’s flat.

The allowance is also deeply unpopular because it has allowed several MSPs to make substantial profits on properties bought with the help of taxpayers’ money.

One of the biggest winners from the scheme appears to be Scott, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Shetland, who is responsible for Scotland’s transport network.

Land registry documents show that most MSPs have used the allowance to buy small flats in central Edinburgh costing between £80,000 and £100,000. But Scott has taken advantage of the generous system by purchasing a house last year in Morningside worth £380,000, on a mortgage of £265,000.

Parliamentary records show he is now billing the public £979 a month in interest payments on his mortgage – the highest charge of any MSP. Scott is also entitled to claim the £1920 council tax on his new band-G house.

An identical property for sale in the same street, inviting offers over £350,000, has three bedrooms, a “lovely private garden”, and a conservatory and patio.

The purchase of the house is only part of the LibDem minister’s use of the accommodation allowance.

The MSP bought his first property through the scheme in 2002, a £112,000 flat at Lower London Road sold to him by his sister. Figures show he claimed around £500 a month in mortgage payments for the property. He sold the flat last year for £148,000, pocketing £36,000 in profit. This allowed him to buy the much bigger property in Morningside.

This purchase coincided with Scott’s changed personal circumstances. By 2005, he was separated from his wife and dating BBC journalist Kirsten Campbell. The electoral roll shows a “Kirsten Campbell” is registered at the new property.

The minister is now charging the public almost double the amount he charged for his previous flat, up from £500 to £979 a month.

Scott has also left himself open to criticism regarding his rental arrangements prior to buying his first taxpayer-funded flat in 2002. That property was bought by Scott’s sister in 2000 – just months after her brother was elected to Holyrood – and sold to him two years later. However, council records show a Tavish H Scott was on the electoral roll for this flat in 2001. The LibDem MSP was claiming rent for staying in his sister’s property.

Scott, a business studies graduate, earns around £50,000 for representing Shetland, while ministers are entitled to a further £39,000. He has claimed more than £50,000 in Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance payments since 1999.

The minister’s dealings follow the Sunday Herald’s revelations last week that Labour MSP John Home Robertson was charging the public £600 a month to stay in his son’s flat. Records show the MSP’s son, then aged 17, bought a £72,000 flat just weeks before his father was elected to Holyrood. No mortgage was required to purchase the property.

The Labour politician apologised to his colleagues for “any grief” caused by last weekend’s article, adding: “There is no question of any financial advantage to anybody.”

Tavish Scott last night said of his property dealings: “I have followed the rules that are set down for all MSPs. I am not going to comment on anything to do with this.”

Asked whether he billed the public for renting his sibling’s flat before buying her property, he said: “I did rent from my sister.”

The allowance’s negative publicity recently prompted first minister Jack McConnell to call for a review of the scheme. A source close to the first minister said yesterday: “His position hasn’t changed. He thinks there is, at best, public confusion and, at worst, public concern about the scheme.”

Solidarity MSP Tommy Sheridan, a long-term campaigner against the allowance, said of the latest revelations: “The whole scheme stinks to high heaven. Every politician is dragged down by it. Any scheme which allows politicians to profit personally is a bad idea. It’s not illegal, but it is immoral.

“Just last week I wrote to the presiding officer, George Reid, to demand the parliament’s corporate body carry out the commitment they gave when I tried to get an amendment to the Registration of Members’ Interests Bill. That’s when Jack McConnell said he agreed with me – so where is the change?”

and now for Ross Finnie …., again from the Sunday Herald . at : http://www.sundayherald.com/58939

LibDem takes over mortgage to claim allowance
By Paul Hutcheon Scottish Political Editor

THE wife of a Scottish Executive minister signed over her rights to an Edinburgh property so her husband could claim £2500 a year in mortgage interest payments.

Environment minister Ross Finnie and his wife Phyllis originally bought a £60,000 flat in the capital five years ago.

But months later, the minister’s spouse waived her rights over the property after learning that a joint mortgage was not compatible with receiving special help from the taxpayer.

The arrangement stems from the controversial Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance, which permits MSPs to claim public cash for renting or towards paying the mortgage on a property in Edinburgh.

Records show Ross and Phyllis Finnie purchased the £60,000 flat in Springfield Street in 2001.

Land registry documents show that in 2002 the LibDem minister’s wife signed over the mortgage to her husband under the banner of “good and onerous causes”. He has since claimed £200 a month through the Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance.

A parliament spokesman confirmed MSPs can recoup the interest payments on a property only if the mortgage is in their name.

“For mortgage interest claims under the Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance, the mortgage can only be in the name of the member – it can’t be in joint names with the spouse,” he said.

The environment minister has not broken any rules by acquiring sole rights to his Edinburgh mortgage, but it does show the lengths to which MSPs go to claim the perk.

Finnie yesterday said he and his wife changed the ownership of the property in order to claim the allowance.

“I bought the property in a joint name, but the allowance does not permit you to claim it if someone else owns the property. I had always intended to claim the allowance. The parliament said it was not permissible in terms of the allowance,” he said.

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Posted by on October 4, 2007 in Law

 

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