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My Taxes Bought What?!

So here’s the thing, I hold my hands up to at times going crazy on my work expense account. Getting work to pay for taxis home after I’ve drunk too many on a night out…. Having boozy lunches and getting the barman to take all the alcohol off the receipt and replace them with “appetizers”. A work mate once booked a load of flights to NYC for us, using our work credit card.

I used to work for a leading US beer company — they’d give us over $200 a week to spend on buying booze for drinkers in pubs. Our team would save the cash then go stay in luxury hotels, but get the hotel manager to change the receipt to nothing but beer. Gosh I ADORE expenses, and private companies can afford it…. So hey — I never felt guilty about it.

But when it comes to our Members of Parliamene (MP’s) that’s a different matter. Both the Labour and Conservative parties have been held to account for over-using their expenses account. In terms of the Labour party — the leader Gordon Brown claimed $3000 for cleaning bills, David Milliband claimed $300 for a pram, Andy Burnham claimed $40 for a bathrobe. And on the Conservatives side, the leader David Cameron claimed $300 for a plumbing bill for his home. Chris Grayling claimed $4000 for decorating his second home, David Williets claimed back $300 for changing the lightbulbs in his home.

The list goes on and on. MP’s have been claiming for toilet seats, expensive carpet, hanging baskets, tin openers, magazines…. The list is full of the sublime and the ridiculous.

But this isn’t any normal abuse of expenses. Let’s not forget that it’s people like me — the taxpayer — who pay for them to live it up like that. So even if it IS within the rules, it’s totally and utterly farcical. And blatantly out of order. In this recession-laden age – when I’m struggling to pay my mortgage — should I be paying for some over-paid MP to get $5,000 worth of carpet put in his house?  I don’t think so sunshine.

Thing is though, this could well be a worldwide problem. Do you know what your Members of Parliament are expensing using your taxes?

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