The Wintertons aren’t abusing the system – the system is the problem

So, let’s get this straight. Nicholas and Ann “ten a penny” Winterton have used the Commons’ Additional Costs Allowance to buy an expensive Westminster flat and, having bought it, have passed it onto a trust to which they now pay rent – via the Additional Costs Allowance.

Shocked? Horrified? Well, you should be, but not at the Wintertons. They are just taking advantage of a fundamentally flawed system. This trick is played by middle class families across the country on a daily basis – the Mail on Sunday commenter claiming that “One rule for all of us, another for MPs” could not be more wrong. And would it really be any less of a waste of taxpayers money if they had never used it to buy a property and instead enriched a private landlord, as a number of MPs self-consciously and piously do? In that respect I have to take issue with Dr Pack over at Lib Dem Voice: the system is most certainly not “reasonable enough.”

If MPs were serious about reform, they’d scrap the ACA and replace it with a trust which MPs could use to buy or subsidise accomodation. If that asset were ever realised, the equity purchased by the trust would simply revert to the trust. This is hardly revolutionary – it’s how the government’s own shared equity scheme for key workers operates. Instead of blowing £20,000 per MP every year, that money would be recycled every time an MP vacated their seat. Given the nature of the housing market, the taxpayer would probably end up making a tidy profit.

But of course, that would mean admitting that the wealth accrued from such investments is fundamentally unearned and a drain on the economy. MPs dare not admit that as it could be the thin end of the wedge. Next thing you know, people would start demanding we tax this unearned wealth in exchange for tax breaks elsewhere. Revolution!


  1. I think you’ll find that what I said was reasonable is the principle of someone whose job requires them to have two homes getting assistance with that, rather than the details of the current scheme 🙂 Your proposals, for example, would fit that princple too.

  2. SIR,
    You should do something spectacular to redeem yourself from what seems to me and my friends, Socialists and Conservatives, like a hedonistic attempt to ignore `fair play` in order to grab as much money as you can from people who, in fact, have little money to give – but give it all the same to back the cause they are fighting for.

    My Socialist friends have no truck with “Conservatives”. They call us selfish, money grabbing pigs-of-society!
    Now, they will tar me with your brush. . . they will tarnish my self-sacrificing friends who have spent a life of raising money in self-sacrifice
    for Conservatives, Children in Need etc., etc..

    You and your family are beneath contempt.
    You try to blame a `lax tax law` for what you have done.
    Good God!

    I would rather die than enter into such shoddy, cheap negotiations for personal gain because I thought they were “available”!

    You and your family are common and cheap. You really should get back to the detritus where you belong.

    I am a heart and soul CONSERVATIVE as are many of my friends . . . and we find you and your like despicable. You tarnish us with your rottenness.

    Lady Anne says “Bad Boy! Woof woof!”
    We say “Fraudulent Man, Lying Man, Cheating Man, Selfish Man, Self-seeking Man – HOOF HOOF!”
    Clear off . . . get out of our hair . . . . Go back and start again and learn what integrity means. You disgust us!

    EH3 5QA
    0131 552 3388

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