The expenses scandal continues to amuse. Here we concentrate on the office supplies side of things. Some of the excellent uses of public money to buy stationery, office machines and furniture include:
- Labour backbencher Sir Stuart Bell bought four Paper shredders in two years, including an office equipment promotion – a buy-one-get-one-free deal with free digital camera for £454.71.
- Chancellor Alistair Darling claimed £12.98 for a pack of 36 toilet rolls.
- New Home Secretary Alan Johnson claimed £8,289 for a letter-folding and envelope-stuffing machine that can work up to 2,000 documents an hour.
- Leicester East MP Keith Vaz paid £3,876 of taxpayers’ money for office furniture to do up his constituency office around 18 months ago, including a bookcase for £650 and a small cupboard for £150.
- Senior Conservative Alan Duncan claimed for the same piece of furniture twice. He submitted an invoice for a £267.90 table top for his constituency office once in November 2004 and submitted the same invoice again the next month. He also submitted receipts of £6.65 for Typhoo One Cup teabags and of £230.07 for 600 Christmas cards showing “Big Ben in the Morning Snow” in 2006. Bless.
Reassuringly, the senior Conservative sits on the committee that oversees MPs’ expenses.
MPs have now paid back almost half a million pounds for expenses claimed since 2003. Just to show there was no wrongdoing.
It has recently emerged that the blacking out of many of the details of MPs’ expenses was itself a rather expensive business, carried out on Parliament’s instructions by the Stationery Office, the privatised publisher of official documents.
* * *
Is your expenses budget burning a hole in your pocket? All of these items could have been bought cheaper at Paperstone.