Monday, 18 May 2009
Chris Bryant, the deputy leader of the House of Commons, and MP for the Rhondda is the latest to be caught repeatedly 'flipping' his designated second home to maximise financial gain from lucrative allowances. Bryant changed his 'second home' twice in two years, permitting him to claim thousands for renovations and fees.
In total, Bryant split £92,000 of taxpayer-funded expenses between three properties in Wales and London in the past five years. In 2004 the Rhondda MP tried to claim £58,000 to renovate his second home in Porth, Wales.
Although the claim was three times the annual maximum, it is alleged that he pleaded with the Commons fees office to allow it because, according to a Commons official, most properties in his constituency were 'terrace or mine owners' houses'.Mr Bryant denied the claims. He told a daily newspaper: 'I have never said anything of the sort', further claiming he moved for 'security' reasons to escape homophobic biggots. He eventually managed to claim £20,900 to overhaul that property, including £13,000 in renovations and the remainder in fees.
Then a year later he decided his west London flat was actually his second home - allowing him to claim £630 a month for mortgage interest and other bills. Three months later he sold the flat for a £77,000 profit, having charged £3,600 on expenses. Mr Bryant then bought another flat in west London and immediately designated it his second home. He promptly set about billing the taxpayer for £6,400 in stamp duty and purchase fees as well as £1,000 a month in interest on the property. The MP said he had moved flat in London so he could be closer to Parliament.
No wonder why the majority of Rhondda residents feel let down by Labour when they see their representative in Westminster working so hard to ensure his own financial stability at their expense in these hard times of economic instability.