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Thread: Son, 17, buys £72K flat, rents to MSP Dad.

  1. #1
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    Default Son, 17, buys £72K flat, rents to MSP Dad.

    From today's Sunday Herald:

    Revealed: more MSPs benefit from Holyrood property gravy train

    By Scottish Political Editor Paul Hutcheon

    A Scottish Executive minister is charging the public nearly £1000 a month in mortgage interest payments to help him buy a £380,000 house in Edinburgh.
    Tavish Scott, the transport minister, has doubled the amount he bills the taxpayer for the property perk despite making a £36,000 profit last year on another flat bought with help from the public purse.

    He has previously claimed rent on a flat which at the time was owned by his sister.

    The revelations are further blows for the widely discredited Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance.

    The parliamentary scheme allows MSPs to either claim mortgage interest payments on a property in the capital, or to rent, or to stay in a hotel.

    Last week, the Sunday Herald disclosed that Labour MSP John Home Robertson was using the system to bill the public £7000 a year to stay in his son’s flat.

    The allowance is also deeply unpopular because it has allowed several MSPs to make substantial profits on properties bought with the help of taxpayers’ money.

    One of the biggest winners from the scheme appears to be Scott, the Liberal Democrat MSP for Shetland, who is responsible for Scotland’s transport network.

    Land registry documents show that most MSPs have used the allowance to buy small flats in central Edinburgh costing between £80,000 and £100,000. But Scott has taken advantage of the generous system by purchasing a house last year in Morningside worth £380,000, on a mortgage of £265,000.

    Parliamentary records show he is now billing the public £979 a month in interest payments on his mortgage – the highest charge of any MSP. Scott is also entitled to claim the £1920 council tax on his new band-G house.

    An identical property for sale in the same street, inviting offers over £350,000, has three bedrooms, a “lovely private garden”, and a conservatory and patio.

    The purchase of the house is only part of the LibDem minister’s use of the accommodation allowance.

    The MSP bought his first property through the scheme in 2002, a £112,000 flat at Lower London Road sold to him by his sister. Figures show he claimed around £500 a month in mortgage payments for the property. He sold the flat last year for £148,000, pocketing £36,000 in profit. This allowed him to buy the much bigger property in Morningside.

    This purchase coincided with Scott’s changed personal circumstances. By 2005, he was separated from his wife and dating BBC journalist Kirsten Campbell. The electoral roll shows a “Kirsten Campbell” is registered at the new property.

    The minister is now charging the public almost double the amount he charged for his previous flat, up from £500 to £979 a month.

    Scott has also left himself open to criticism regarding his rental arrangements prior to buying his first taxpayer-funded flat in 2002. That property was bought by Scott’s sister in 2000 – just months after her brother was elected to Holyrood – and sold to him two years later. However, council records show a Tavish H Scott was on the electoral roll for this flat in 2001. The LibDem MSP was claiming rent for staying in his sister’s property.

    Scott, a business studies graduate, earns around £50,000 for representing Shetland, while ministers are entitled to a further £39,000. He has claimed more than £50,000 in Edinburgh Accommodation Allowance payments since 1999.

    The minister’s dealings follow the Sunday Herald’s revelations last week that Labour MSP John Home Robertson was charging the public £600 a month to stay in his son’s flat. Records show the MSP’s son, then aged 17, bought a £72,000 flat just weeks before his father was elected to Holyrood. No mortgage was required to purchase the property.

    The Labour politician apologised to his colleagues for “any grief” caused by last weekend’s article, adding: “There is no question of any financial advantage to anybody.”

    Tavish Scott last night said of his property dealings: “I have followed the rules that are set down for all MSPs. I am not going to comment on anything to do with this.”

    Asked whether he billed the public for renting his sibling’s flat before buying her property, he said: “I did rent from my sister.”

    The allowance’s negative publicity recently prompted first minister Jack McConnell to call for a review of the scheme. A source close to the first minister said yesterday: “His position hasn’t changed. He thinks there is, at best, public confusion and, at worst, public concern about the scheme.”

    Solidarity MSP Tommy Sheridan, a long-term campaigner against the allowance, said of the latest revelations: “The whole scheme stinks to high heaven. Every politician is dragged down by it. Any scheme which allows politicians to profit personally is a bad idea. It’s not illegal, but it is immoral.

    “Just last week I wrote to the presiding officer, George Reid, to demand the parliament’s corporate body carry out the commitment they gave when I tried to get an amendment to the Registration of Members’ Interests Bill. That’s when Jack McConnell said he agreed with me – so where is the change?”

    05 November 2006

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    Your a bitty out of date, this was in all the tabloids last week and on both BBC Scotland and ITV Scotland news as well
    Once the original Grumpy Owld Man but alas no more

  3. #3
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    Jul 2006
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    Been a whiley since I agreed with Tommy Sheridan and I'm never altogether sure of his sanity but I do agree with what he says about this. Whichever grasping incompetent phrased the rules, and whichever grasping MSPs voted them through, it is immoral. And it doesn't take a genius to work out a number of likely routes by which someone in John Robertson's fortunate position might get the financial advantage he, of course, isn't. 'Cos he said so..... anyone for a SIPP? Tax free....


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