Disgusted of Llandrindod Wells

Clutching at straws
02/07/2009, 9:11 am
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Scrap the £30.65 for food gravy train, screamed the Western Mail today.

Chief hack Martin Shipton wrote, “Calls were made last night for the scrapping of a tax-free perk that allows AMs to claim £30.65 a day for food without providing a receipt.Details of claims released this week show AMs were paid almost £50,000 in food allowances during 2008-09.”

The only thing is that when looking at the league of shame offered by the paper you’ll see that for an entire year 20 AMs claimed nothing at all and 9 claimed between £30.65 and £91.95. Venal bastards!

Of course, there are exceptions:

  • Huw Lewis, definitely in south Wales, in Merthyr Tydfil, claimed £2,513.30 – more than a number of colleagues, in various parties, who live in north Wales
  • Val Lloyd in Swansea East claimed £2,114.85 (compared to the £0 claimed by Andrew Davies, just across the other side of the city)
  • The hungry Lib Dem duo of Peter Black and Mike German, claiming £1,072.75 and £950.15 respectively, and living rather close to the Assembly.

Don’t get me wrong. We need a debate about what constitutes fair expenses, but not a hysterical debate fuelled by a desperate newspaper with declining circulation and advertising revenues.

Disgusted is a generous soul but does despair at politicians’ attempts to defend themselves. Brian ‘Funky’ Gibbons – the hungriest AM away from home – said, “I do think there has to be an allowance for people when they are away from their main home.” Agreed! ‘Funky’ Gibbons continues,”I presume that the reason for my claim being as high as it is stems from the fact that I tend to stay four nights a week in Cardiff because of my Ministerial duties.” He ‘presumes’?! D’oh!


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