Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Equal justice?

I write this with care. Today's Southport Visiter carries a front page story about a man who has been given a 10month prison sentence for fiddling his welfare claims. I have no objection to that. As I read down the story I found he has claimed about £16,000 pound housing benefit from Sefton council. It turned out that as the Visiter reports:

"The local authority’s investigation discovered that the property was held in
trust by Charles and Pauline Smith, who are the claimant’s parents. "

Now let us turn to a wholly separate story to see how somebody else was dealt with who handed over their property to a trust and then claimed expenses. This report from the Daily Telegraph.

I watched Question Time last week and there was a discussion on Jacqui Smith's claim for a second home allowance. I suspect that rather like the Winterton's the claim it is within the rules. In the programme Sarah Teather revealed that as the MP for Brent -which is classed as on outer London Borough -under the rules she is entitled to a second home allowance! This clearly barking and to her credit Sarah has not claimed the allowance. Sadly the Winterton's have not exercised the same moral judgement.