Monday, 29 June 2009

More expense drama..or should that be 'treuliau'?

I don't usually put my long-winded rants on this blog - but I want to put this one here for a reason - cos I want lots of people to see it. Promise I won't do it again (well - not for a and we'll be back to the usual deviance forthwith.

Yet more scandal on the expenses front - but his time it's not Westminster that I'm talking about. This is far closer to me than that.
The Senedd (Welsh Assembly to you has released it's members expenses for the 08/09 year. It makes horrendous reading.
There are no claims for duck houses or damp-proofing and tbh the 'everyday' expenses of most of the AMs (Assembly Members) is pretty fair. I don't object to the travelling expenses, or really to the TVs and ipods bought out of my taxes....oh no...
What I have a real problem with is the 'Second home allowance'..
Don't get me wrong here - I've travelled the length and breadth of Wales and if you live any further North than Brecon - then that's too far away from Cardiff (home of the Senedd) to make a comfortable drive home. The distance may not be far, but when they say 'A road' in Wales what they really mean is a single lane track that is usually occupied by tractors, sheep or roadworks!
But - I took an example of two AMs - one is my local repesentative and the other is the closest representative of the party I voted for. Both of them also happen to be on my Facebook friends list (convenient ain't
I looked up their expenses online - they were released today on the Assembly website.
Huw Lewis (my local AM) claimed just over £23,000
Bethan Jenkins (my nearest Plaid Cymru AM) claimed just over £31,000
Both of them claim a second home allowance - Huw Lewis has a mortgage, Bethan Jenkins rents...
Here's the rub - Huw Lewis lives less than half an hours drive from Cardiff (where he has his second home) and Bethan Jenkins lives less than an hours drive away....
You telling me they need a second home!!!??
I've popped down to Cardiff for a sandwich it's so close....
I asked both of these people why they think they need a second home....
Huw Lewis still hasn't replied, which has pissed me of a bit seeings that he's my local AM - MY representative..
But Bethan Jenkins has....she said - and this is the quote 'I don't think that this is unacceptable'....
Well I bloody do.
She said 'I rent my second property so I don't gain from it.'
Not exactly the point Bethan - it's MY taxes that pay that rent....and I can think of better things to spend it on.
Her messages to me about the issue were childish and condescending she even thought I wasn't aware enough of poitics to know that Huw Lewis and herself represent different parties....Her whole attitude was exactly the same as those 'we didn't break any rules' Westminster lot...
I lost patience and sent her quote to the BBC newsdesk....and an email to her boss.
I'm not surprised by any of this - they are politicians after all - but this is after their expenses were exposed last summer and an official inquiry set up to see if they were spending too much!
God help what they were skimming before.
The results of the inquiry will be released next week - should be interesting..
Anyhoo - rant over - going to hassle them a bit more on FB

Update: I have, since this post had quite an nice discussion with Bethan Jenkins who was happy to answer my questions. I can't say that she answered them all satisfactorily - but that's politics for ya!
My thanks to her for taking the time to debate the matter.

No comments: