John Hemming's Web Log John's Reference Website
Sunday, March 29, 2015
  Nailing the Labour Lie
Labour have just started delivering a dishonest newspaper in the Yardley Constituency.

There are a number of false and misleading items in that newspaper, but one is so spectacularly false that it warrants an immediate response.

The claim is that "while people here are forced to foodbanks". I made an expenses claim for subsistance or food.  They then say "Why were you paying for his dinner."

The facts are easy to find.  Firstly there are two foodbanks that serve people living in Yardley.  The only one actually in Yardley is in Stechford and opened on Friday February 28th 2014.   The other one is in Sparkhill and was I believe created some time in 2011.

It is slightly more complicated finding out what I have claimed for dinner.   The new rules came in at the start of the 2010 financial year (just before the new parliament).

There is a link from which the aggregated expenditure can be identified here:
http://www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk/AnnualisedData.aspx
2010-11
2011-12
2012-13
2013-14
Those summary figures, however, include subsistance (food) within travel. So to find out whether or not I am claiming for food costs you need to go into a further level of detail.
Here are the details for: 2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
You can then look through the travel claims which are almost entirely claims for saver returns (which is why I am the most cost effective MP in Birmingham from a travel costs perspective).
It is, of course, possible to search to find out which MPs claim subsistance. From this you can find:
Labour MP Liam Byrne has claimed for dinner in parliament
Labour MP Roger Godsiff has claimed for dinner in parliament (on page 3)

So to conclude. In this parliament I have not claimed once for dinner on the taxpayer. In theory Labour's leaflet only covers since 2011 when the foodbank in Sparkhill Started, but in fact I have not claimed for dinner at all in the 2010-2015 parliament. On the other hand two neighbouring Labour MPs have claimed for dinner "while local people are forced to foodbanks".
The rules changed in 2010. It is possible to see my claims before 2010. I took a decision in April 2009 to stop claiming second home and subsistance expenses (it was not lumped in with travel then).
The 2009-10/11 figures can be found here. You will find a single claim for 651.43 which is the half yearly service charge. I could, in that year, have claimed £4,800 for subsistance (food) as well as an additional over £15,000 for other second home expenses. However, I decided as my contribution to the cuts necessary to resolve the country's financial problems to stop claiming the second home expenses. I could have claimed £4,800 just for dinner and did not claim a penny of that - although obviously I still had heavy costs. (The budget was an annual one not a monthly one)   Prior to that I had claimed second home expenses (including subsistance) In May 2009 I did an analysis of the second home (including subsistance/food) costs of all the Birmingham MPs and the figures were as follows:
John Hemming 59601
Lynne Jones 60163
Steve McCabe 61803
Gisela Stuart 73079
Clare Short 74500
Liam Byrne 84978
Richard Burden 86324
Roger Godsiff 90956
Andrew Mitchell 92822
Sion Simon 103259
Khalid Mahmood 104676

Hence not only am I the most cost effective MP in Birmingham in the 2010-15 parliament, but also I was the most cost effective MP in Birmingham in the 2005-2010 parliament.   I have not claimed for dinner/food/subsistance in this parliament even once - notwithstanding Labour's clearly dishonest allegation that I have.  Therefore I have obviously not claimed for dinner "while people here are forced to foodbanks" (which can only be from 2011 because there were no foodbanks dealing with Yardley before then).  In fact I did not even claim for subsistance in the 2009-10 financial year.  The situation before the financial crisis is, of course, different, but even then I was the most cost effective MP in Birmingham for second home costs.

 
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