Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday the U.S. economy is expanding strongly enough for the central bank to begin slowing the pace of its bond-buying stimulus later this year. Full Article | Instant View
Confused while buying stocks? Get buy, sell or hold recommendations from VantageTrade. Full Coverage
FACTBOX-Casualties of Britain's expenses scandal
LONDON May 15 (Reuters) - British lawmakers are beginning to pay a political and financial price for a series of damaging disclosures surrounding expense claims. [nLF952392]
The Daily Telegraph newspaper has embarrassed all the major parties by publishing how lawmakers have received thousands of pounds of public money for claims ranging from buying furniture to cleaning swimming pools.
Legislators say they complied with parliamentary rules, but a growing number are repaying money to the public purse while several others have resigned posts or been suspended.
-- Junior Justice Minister Shahid Malik stepped down pending the result of an investigation into allegations he paid below-market rent for a house.
The inquiry will look at whether he failed to declare a discounted rent, thereby breaking a ministerial code.
The Daily Telegraph said Malik claimed more than 23,000 pounds ($34,970) from the taxpayer last year for his London house while securing a three-bedroom house in his Yorkshire constituency, in northern England, at a discounted rent of less than 100 pounds a week.
Malik, from the ruling Labour party, said he had followed the rules on parliamentary expenses and the Telegraph allegations were inaccurate.
-- Andrew Mackay, a senior political adviser to opposition Conservative leader David Cameron, resigned his position after a review of his expenses revealed an "unacceptable situation".
Mackay had claimed for mortgage interest payments on a London property jointly owned with his wife Julie Kirkbride, another Conservative lawmaker, although she was already claiming for her constituency home.
He apologised but said the arrangement had been approved by parliamentary authorities.
-- Labour lawmaker and former agriculture minister Elliot Morley was suspended from the party after the Daily Telegraph said he had filed 16,000 pounds of expense claims for a mortgage he had already repaid.
In a statement to the newspaper, Morley apologised and said he had made a mistake, but did not believe he had committed a criminal offence. He said he had repaid some money.
Morley will still sit in parliament but will lose certain privileges pending an investigation. He is also suspended from his post as Brown's envoy on climate change.
-- Lawmakers have so far repaid nearly 130,000 pounds ($197,700) after their expenses came under the media spotlight.
Cabinet minister Hazel Blears said she would pay 13,332 pounds to tax authorities to cover capital gains tax on the sale of a London flat. Blears had told tax officials it was her main residence and so free of capital gains tax, though for parliamentary purposes she had said it was a second home, thus qualifying for expense awards.
Health Minister Phil Hope said he would pay back 41,709 pounds claimed over the past few years for furniture and fittings for his second home.
Four leading Conservatives -- Michael Gove, Oliver Letwin, Andrew Lansley and Alan Duncan -- will repay more than 16,000 pounds they had claimed for, respectively, furniture, putting a pipe under a tennis court, home improvements and gardening expenses.
Cameron himself will pay back a maintenance bill for 680 pounds. (Reporting by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Alison Williams)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this