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Fareham MP Mark Hoban's £12,000 furniture expense claim
11:20am Sunday 21st June 2009 in News
A HAMPSHIRE MP who campaigned against wasteful public spending billed taxpayers more than £12,000 for the cost of maintaining and furnishing his second home.
Fareham MP Mark Hoban, who sought to attack “excessive” Whitehall spending on fine wine, first class rail travel, flowers and pot plants, claimed for dozens of household items under his Parliamentary expenses over a four-year period.
His claims, published by the Commons authorities, included almost £2,000 for “midsummer glow” carpets, £1,715 for a dining table, chair, bookshelf and chest, £1,700 for a boiler, £1,600 for curtains, £749 for a TV, £650 for decorating, £478 for a washing machine, £294 for a coffee table and lamp table, £249 for a vacuum cleaner and £199 for a music centre.
The shadow Treasury minister also successfully claimed £190 for a fridge, £100 for a chrome shower rack, £80 for four silk red cushion covers, £45 for a shower curtain, £40 for an iron, £35 for a toilet roll holder, £20 for two velvet cream cushions and £18 for a toilet brush.
Details of several other claims – together worth hundreds of pounds – were blanked out by the Commons authorities.
The MP’s claims for home furnishings and maintenance for his London flat between 2004/5 and 2007/8 came to about £12,300.
The Fees Office judged all of Mr Hoban’s claims to be within the rules of the additional costs allowance (ACA), designed to enable MPs to keep a second home while carrying out their duties.
His total claims under the ACA, which also included monthly payments of up to £892 for mortgage interest, about £100 for cleaning and regular claims for food, utilities and council tax, amounted to £82,662 over the four-year period.
The publication of Mr Hoban’s expenses follows a series of attacks by the MP on Government for wasting taxpayers’ money.
Last year, after he revealed that Whitehall departments were spending tens of thousands of pounds on pot plants, he told the Daily Echo they should “think about the amount they are spending so they can be confident they can justify to the taxpayers they are spending it well. People want to know money is being spent wisely.”
Mr Hoban, whose main home is in Locks Heath, said: “I believed the claims I made were reasonable and within the spirit of the rules. I have submitted my ACA claims for review by the Scrutiny Committee set up by (Tory leader) David Cameron.
“It is absolutely right for the rules to be tightened up so we have a system that has public confidence but also enables MPs to cover reasonable costs of having to work in two places.”
Mr Hoban also claimed, in 2007/8, a total of £8,786 under his communications allowance, including £2,937 for computer and website work.
His incidental expenses and constituency office costs, which totalled £73,731 between 2004/5 and 2007/8, included £175 for pictures for his website, £20 for a book entitled How Parliament Works and an £8 taxi ride to the Globe Theatre.
There were also annual claims for up to £3,877 to cover the cost of research provided by the Conservative-linked Parliamentary Resources Unit, and up to £4,129 for office rent paid to Fareham Conservative Association.
He also claimed £170 for a fax machine, £255 for a digital camera, £129 for a memory stick and, in 2006, £4,000 for services provided by an intern from the Catholic Trust for England and Wales.
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