18 June 2009

Jim Dowd and Petty Cash

A pretty good name for a country and western duo, don't you think?

Now that Parliament has "published" "details" of MPs' "expenses", we can have a better look at what Jim Dowd's been up to. Sorry, Jim, but it still is very boring. The main itemised expenditure is on his mobile phone (because clearly he would not have had a mobile phone if he had not been an MP) his ISP (Madasafish, as it happens, because, as we've seen, he's on the cutting edge of tinternet), and a large amount of expenditure on printer toner. (Actually, his mobile phone bills are really low. Does he have no friends?)

But every month without fail he spent £250 on "petty cash". Is it a coincidence that this is exactly the amount an MP can claim without evidence? There's absolutely no clue what this petty cash was spent on. And Jim might argue that he's followed the rules. He may even argue that he probably spent more than £250 a month on petty cashy things, whatever they are. But I don't suppose he knows.

To a cynic - and I wasn't always a cynic, honest - it looks as if he's basically added £3,000 a year (after tax) to his salary. Nice one, Jim.

Do they all do this? Bridget Prentice, my other non-existent MP, hasn't made a regular claim for petty cash. She also (as far as I remember) hasn't claimed for her mobile phone or internet connection.

At the last election, I broke the habit of a lifetime and didn't vote labour, because of Iraq and the assaults on civil liberties, etc, and because Jim had done nothing nothing nothing to object to these things. I'm increasingly glad I did that.

Even when he's (possibly) abusing the system, he does it with a complete lack of flair and style. He'll probably slip under the radar, get elected again next year, and carry on doing the nodding dog act, only this time in opposition.


Brian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian said...

Here's the story in the Mercury:
Not much new there, but it's interesting that no other South London MP has claimed the maximum in petty cash.