The tabloids and broadsheets are today awash with stories of another MP expenses scandal. Northern Irish MP Jim Shannon, of the Democratic Unionist Party, will be required to repay £14,000 in fuel expenses. The Compliance Officer for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has demanded Mr Shannon to cough up £13,925.86.
In their withering report, the watchdog said the “current situation" in Mr Shannon’s office is “unsustainable".
“The records kept by the MP’s office are completely inadequate and make it impossible to conduct a viable external audit of the activities undertaken", they added.
“The methods for the submission and collation of mileage claims by individual staff members are equally woeful."
They also demanded that “Mr Shannon must engage with IPSA with a view to conducting a fundamental review of his constituency office management".
A man of the people, Mr Shannon has previously stated that he "cannot say no" and when approached by a constituent, regardless of the issue, he will "take it on".
Mr Shannon has the right to appeal the decision.
- His staff accounted for 26.1% of all constituency mileage in the House of Commons
- His claim was £14,289 greater than any other MP in 2015
- His claim was 37 times higher than the average
- Staff racked up costs delivering letters to constituents by car after Shannon overspent his postage and office budgets
Halfway to the Moon
Exceeding 120,000 miles in a two years is something that a few of us will achieve. However those of us who sit behind desks need some help in putting things into perspective.
- Northern Ireland is 85 miles wide from east to west
- 120,000 miles would take you around the World 5 times
- The distance to the moon is 238,000 miles
- Commuting from Nottingham to Canary Wharf for two years would rack up 120,000 miles
Although there is nothing to suggest that these claims are fraudulent, it does highlight a staggering lack of control and gaping inefficiencies. HMRC compliant mileage expense claims require full details of each journey taken;
- Start location
- End location
- Reason for travel
- Mileage driven
- Vehicle driven
- Mileage rate claimed
- Opening and closing mileages
The purpose of gathering all of this data is to aid audit compliance. Private mileage conducted with business funds requires both the employee and business to pay benefit in kind taxes. Failure to do so, or failure to correctly document evidence can lead to five figure penalties from the Tax Authority.
The ABAX Triplog can take control of the documentation on your behalf. Don't write a mileage claim, let ABAX tackle it for you.
Know the Rules. We are here to help you Jim!
/ Chris Miller