Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Friends of Levitt come out to support 'Making Allowances' - and bend the truth

It's a been a little while now since Tom Levitt performed his one-man play 'Making Allowances', and it's true to say that it wasn't exactly a huge success in terms of garnering widespread attention. Whilst the BBC certainly seemed to over-indulge Levitt, what with several slots on Radio 4, plus the Politics Show piece, it was somehow fitting that the only real mainstream reaction came from the Sunday Telegraph, which can be read here.

The review is largely sympathetic, but does suggest the audience should perhaps be throwing eggs, or that he should turn it into panto ("Jack and the Beancounters").

To find reviews elsewhere, you really do have to scrape the bottom of the internet's barrel. With less than 140 characters, one finds a tweet by Martin Rosenbaum, a producer of political documentaries, who considered the play "a bit unpolished but thoughtful, amusing, well-performed, nice twist at end" (not having seen the play, we're imagining that the 'twist' doesn't involve a contrite Levitt seeking redemption via suicide).

We also have a long review by a self-declared "old friend" of Levitt, one Wiktor Moszczynski, whose blog declares that Levitt was "innocent" of the allegations levelled at him by both "reactionary and plebian (sic) accusers". We're proud to be plebs Wiktor! But perhaps you should have read this blog first? Wiktor's blog goes on to defend the vile un-seated former immigration minister, Phil Woolas, so it's clear where he's coming from.

Even worse is the comment left on the blog by a Linda Lewis, who we are reliably informed is an old friend of Levitt. She spends a large amount of time performing an Orwellian whitewash regarding Levitt's mortgage claims, suggesting the civil servants had got it wrong, and that Levitt was in the clear. Yet we all know that Levitt over-claimed for his mortgage, something he has not denied. Lewis goes on to suggest that ordinary people get treated with sympathy for fraud, and that such as Levitt got a harder time because he was an MP. Only someone who calls themselves a friend of this man could believe such nonsense.

But there we are - one hopes these rather limited reactions spell the end of the whole matter, although Levitt and his producer, Chris Mellor, are threatening to take the play on a nationwide tour. We'll be waiting if he decides to perform in the High Peak.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Levitt appears on the BBC's 'Politics Show' promoting 'Making Allowances'

You can see the recording of Tom Levitt appearing on the BBC's Politics Show, which was broadcast yesterday, above. In short order, we'll be back with some comments, as well as one or two reviews of the show we've stumbled across.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Levitt appears on Radio 4's 'PM' to promote 'Making Allowance'

Tom Levitt appeared again on Radio 4 yesterday, on their popular 'PM' evening news programme, picking up free promotion for his play 'Making Allowance'. The reporter, Becky Milligan, had blogged about her encounter with Levitt at a rehearsal prior to the audio version appearing on the show last night.

We'd be interested to know if any of our sources out there know who the character of Kevin in the play is based upon - seemingly a local Labour Party activist who confronted Levitt about his expenses. The Labour Chief Whip at the time of the expenses scandal was Nick Brown, someone who certainly bears no resemblance to the character Levitt portrays here, but is perhaps modelled on someone else.

Of future interest should be the producer of the play, a certain Chris Mellor. In last week's Advertiser and Glossop Chronicle (neither article is online), he revealed he was a former Glossop resident. His current job is Senior Arts Development Officer at Camden Council. We wonder how Camden residents would feel that the Council is putting their council tax into supporting Levitt's extreme act of vanity?

As usual, an mp3 recording of the programme segment and a full transcript can be read after the 'read more' link.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Levitt promotes 'Making Allowance' play on BBC Radio 4

After we wrote the last post, we discovered that Tom Levitt had actually appeared on BBC Radio 4's 'The World Tonight' last week to promote his forthcoming play 'Making Allowance'. We've managed to make a recording of the audio for posterity, and it can be heard along with a transcript of the interview by clicking the 'read more' button below.

During the interview, we learn that the play is to be held on two nights, Thursday 4th and Friday 5th November, with the latter date being obviously particularly appropriate - and no doubt intended by Levitt.

Predictably, Levitt labours on the poppy wreath claim - it's his usual trick to distract us from the claims for the greedy refurbishment of his flat, or the tax dodge which allowed him to pocket thousands, or even the athlete's foot-treating hairdryer. And whilst the presenter, Roger Hearing, takes him to task about the over-claim for mortgage costs, the whole sorry saga is nowhere near covered.

Levitt is clearly deeply wounded by this whole affair, to the extent that he can't help but return to the subject, and he stills feels that he has somehow been wronged. Roger Hearing is quite right to point out how disgusting this looks, at a time when millions of people are facing extreme financial hardship, redundancy, and distress.

Like we said in our last post, is there any reason why Levitt can't put on his play in his home town? We'd love to cover the play, but we're not prepared to spend money travelling down to London at short notice to heckle and give the audience more information - which we gladly do if this farce was staged closer to home.

We expect the audience will be composed largely of Levitt's peers and fellow MPs, which is entirely apt, since they are probably the only group of people who will have a shred of sympathy. Let's hope Levitt's 15 minutes of fame - after several months of infamy - is finally up.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Levitt's expenses play 'Making Allowance' to be staged in London

You may remember that back in March of this year, the Telegraph featured a story about Tom Levitt's plans for a radio play about the expenses scandal. We've heard nothing since.

But we've been passed news that the play has been converted to the stage. This press release popped into our inbox the other day, and here's the text:

Notes on a scandal
Meanwhile, a former Labour MP who stepped down at the last election is now trying his hand at a bit of theatre.
Tom Levitt served as MP for High Peak from 1997 to 2009 and was caught up in the MPs’ expenses scandal - accused of claiming for a mortgage, a fitted kitchen and a poppy wreath.
He has now decided to tell his own version of events by putting pen to paper and creating a play, Making Allowance, in which he will also star. It is being staged for two nights at the New Diorama Theatre in central London and promises to reveal the “fascinating and revelatory tale behind one of the most infamous chapters in recent British Parliamentary history”.

Yes, you read that right - Levitt is planning to star in the play. Will there be a part for his wife Teresa? A look at the theatre's website shows that the play has yet to appear in their schedule - though there is a play called 'The Robbers' which would surely be a more appropriate title.

We're keen to hear from anyone who is willing and able to attend and provide a review for the site.

Of course, the question needs to be asked - why is Levitt not staging this play in venues in his former constituency? We're sure the people of High Peak would give him an appropriate welcome at the Buxton Opera House or the Partington Theatre.

Months later, and Levitt is milking his notoriety of this whole affair...

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Levitt's last words

Tom Levitt has this week written his last column* for your local newspaper in High Peak. It's basically a long list of what he sees as his acheivements, along with recollections about his time in Parliament.

Strangely missing from this is any mention on the expenses outrage, but perhaps that isn't surprising. However, he saves the most disingenuous part until last:
After thirteen years, I have decided to move on.
Tom doesn't make clear that he was moved on by the outrage in his Constituency Party, but his track record of being economical with the truth (if not with our money) is being upheld. His move to stand down was also no doubt motivated by the knowledge that the IPSA report spelt out that the 'golden parachutes' handed out to MPs upon retirement would no longer be anywhere near as generous as they were previously. Back in November last year, we outlined that Levitt would stand to gain £54,403 (£30K of that tax free) under the current system, along with an aptly-named 'winding up allowance' of over £42K.

So the end of Tom Levitt's career as an MP also means the end of this blog. It will remain in cyberspace as a record of his avarice and greed, but there's always our sister blog Levitt Watch, which will keep an eye on what he's up to.

In the words of Levitt "It has been a privilege. Thank you."

*if this link no longer works, try this screen grab

Saturday, 13 March 2010

The Telegraph picks up on Levitt's Expenses Play for BBC Radio 4

The Telegraph has just posted an extensive article about the Radio Play Tom Levitt has written and submitted to the BBC, an admission he made in his response the the IPSA consultation which we revealed this week.

The Telegraph regard the play as 'a thinly disguised account of his own involvement in one of the biggest political scandals of modern times', and seem to have inside knowledge, and also quote Levitt which suggests self-publicity.

As we commented the other day, it's amazing that Levitt has the bare-faced cheek to portray himself as so dedicated and hard-working when he clearly has a lot of time to devote the writing a play.

The text of the Telegraph article can be read below upon clicking 'read more' at the foot of this post.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Tom Levitt's response to the IPSA consultation

We alluded to To Levitt's response to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) expenses consultation, and here's a link to the PDF file. For ease of reading, we have reproduced the text of the document, and this is accessible via a link ('read more') at the bottom of this post.

Before you read it, you may want to note some rather interesting observations we have made upon reading it:

  • The document contains 13 spelling mistakes (highlighted in our reproduction).
  • Levitt reveals he has submitted a radio play to the BBC on the expenses issue (he says he has attached a draft, but this is not reproduced in the PDF). Clearly, he has a lot of time on his hands, which contradicts his comments about needing to use first class travel 4 hours a week in order to 'work'.
  • Contrary to his recent statements that the new expenses system is fair, he reserves a lot of vitriol for the proposals in this report.

There's a lot to his response, so we may be back to pick up on bits and pieces of it at a later date. In the meantime, read on...

Levitt - the ruling class must travel by first class

In complete contradiction to his more recent attempts at remorse, Tom Levitt is once again doing his damnedest to preserve the completely OTT perks of his job, despite all of he furore over MPs expenses, and despite the fact he will no longer be an MP for much longer.

The Sunday Times reported last week how many MPs were in opposition to the proposals of the new Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) which had produced a consultation document about the future expenses regime. The Sunday Times homed in on one particular aspect of the responses to the consultation by MPs - that surrounding first class travel on trains, which IPSA proposed to limit to 'exceptional circumstances'. This was presumably because of the remarks of the vile Tory MP for Macclesfield Nicholas Winterton, where he made it clear that he travelled first class to avoid working class people.

Amongst other publications that picked up the story was the Telegraph, quoting Levitt as follows:
"I invariably work on the train, something I can only do in a first class carriage for three reasons: that I have a table, space and privacy to work there; that I have a seat (as the standard class carriages between Manchester and London are often standing room only); and that (as I am over six feet tall) I have the leg room for comfort."
Now we're sure there are some people who want to work on the train (or indeed have to), but given that Levitt travels to and from London once a week, he spends 4 hours on a train a week - that's a week, not a day. So what is it that is so crucial for him to complete in this time? Travelling in Standard ('second') class does not prevent someone from reading, nor from making telephone calls (which are no more private in first class), and if Levitt needs a table, he could surely block-book his seat in advance, and save money too.

Levitt's protestations stretch credibility, and it seems they amount to little more than Winterton's. One part of Levitt's response that has been omitted is the following very revealing comment:
"... MPs who benefit from conversation together in a relaxed atmosphere on the London train will find they have to travel in different carriages" (i.e. under the new proposals)
In other words, Levitt prefers the company of his fellow members of the ruling class to that of the unwashed. Why should he have to stand up like the rest of us, on overcrowded trains? He's better than us, and surely doesn't deserve such indignities.

But now, Levitt is back to contradictory statements. In today's Buxton Advertiser, he's quoted as follows:
"The current system is far better than what went before — which was typified by ambiguous rules, inconsistent application and some blatant exploitation."
In a future post, we'll show you how hollow these words are.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Levitt denies rumours he is to be a paid adviser to Nestlé

Tom Levitt today published a press release on his website* about rumours he is to become a paid adviser to Nestlé after he stands down at the General Election.

This denial follows the publication of the following story in the latest edition of satirical magazine Private Eye last week:

Tom Levitt, Labour MP for High Peak, is standing down at the next election - no doubt to the relief of colleagues who were often bemused by his defence of Nestlé, the food giant frequently attacked for its baby milk marketing practices.

Levitt even went on a Nestlé-funded trip to South Africa, returning full of praise for his hosts and even quoting Nestle's own PR on his blog to refute activists' charges.

Announcing his decision not to stand for re-election, Levitt said: "I would like to spend more time with my wife, our children and grandchildren. I would also like to do something different in the work environment." How fortunate that one of the roles that will help the transition to his "new work environment" will be... as a paid adviser to Nestlé!
Levitt has responded as follows:
"Over the years I have been a guest of Nestlé at Wimbledon, at a cricket test match and on a visit to South Africa in 2008 to look at Corporate Social Responsibility, all properly recorded in the Register of Members' Interests. Nestlé is the owner of Buxton Water, an important local employer and an iconic brand of the High Peak area. It is right for the MP to have close relations with important local companies.

"I have no firm plans yet for what I shall be doing in the work environment after the election - though I have some irons in the fire - but the post of "paid advisor to Nestlé" is news to me.

"I am not aware of any MP colleague who has been "bemused" in the way the story suggests. The "practices" to which the story refers took place 30 to 40 years ago and I now believe that Nestlé is amongst the most ethical of traders in this field."

Which sounds to us like a lovely little bit of PR for Nestlé. For further details and background of this story, please visit our new blog - Levitt Watch!

*when this link no longer works, you can view a screen grab here.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Levitt prays for the 'last word' on expenses

Tom Levitt has today published a press release* (which is usually regurgitated as his weekly column) entitled 'Expenses the final word?'. Unfortunately for him, it still leaves some questions about the exact position. We'll go through some of his words (in italics) with our observations (in bold).

Gone is the do-what-you-like atmosphere which allowed MPs, including myself, to claim for things which the public found unreasonable. Note the use of the the word 'public', Levitt seems to be suggesting it's not actually unreasonable, it's just that those who take the view that it is outnumber him in thinking so. How very like Tony Blair!

Let me be clear about my record: I was guided by the law, the rules of Parliament, professional advice and my conscience at all times. All of which were found wanting - they write the rules, they create the law and they want us to forgive them for taking full advantage of it.

The auditors under Sir Thomas Legg disallowed three claims that I had made:

- the inadvertent claiming of 12 months (instead of 10) Council Tax on my London flat for two years, £412 (revealed and paid back last May). This simply isn't true - Legg's report contains no mention of the Council Tax, that was spotted by this blog last June, Levitt only repaying it when the press picked up our story. This was the only money that had been repaid last Thursday.

- a piece of furniture, allowed in 2005 but deemed to have been extravagant in 2009, £389 (revealed last October). That piece of furniture was a sofa bed which had cost us £1599, and which Legg considered was too extravagant to the tune of £389. The £389 had not been repaid by Levitt up until last Thursday.

- a miscalculation of mortgage interest over five years (confirmed in last week’s Legg report) of net £390.95. Wrong again: the mortgage interest was for 2004, 2005 & 2006 (3 years), and the amount outstanding was £800.95 as of last Thursday (nothing repaid then).

All of these sums have now been paid back; nothing is outstanding. We'll have to take Tom's word for it, some proof would be nice given that he has such a poor record of repaying the money that is owed.

We must move quickly to put these issues behind us. But not until May eh, Tom? Not until you're eligible for your massive golden handshake?

Now it could be that Tom is about to get his wish: this may indeed be the last word about Tom Levitt's expenses, given the lack of info likely to be available in future. But there is the whole question of what it is that Levitt will get up to next. Will he go back to teaching? Will he spread the good word about charities? Will he become an ambassador for Nestlé, a company with which he has been huddling in the past (now there's a story in there somewhere...)? Or perhaps Gordon Brown will reward him for his sycophancy by making him a peer of the realm? Lord Buxton anyone?

If this is the end, then keep watching this blog. Depending upon what follows, something else may follow it. We'll be watching...

*when this link no longer works, try this screen grab

Thursday, 4 February 2010

More confusion - exactly what has Levitt repaid?

Shortly after writing the last post, we turned our attention to another document released today on the parliament website. This is a list of exactly who has repaid what - Levitt appears on page 16 of this PDF.

Looking at the document you'll note that he has repaid £412, as today's Legg report made clear. But in the 'comments' column at the end, we learn what this is for:

Two months inadvertent over claim of Council Tax in two consecutive years.

Now you may remember that the issue of Levitt overclaiming £407.60 for his Council Tax was discovered and first brought to the attention of the world by this website last June.

So the questions that now flow from this are:

  • Has Levitt repaid anything towards the sofa bed overpayment identified by Legg?
  • If he has, then why hasn't it been accounted for by Legg?
  • If he hasn't, what the hell is he playing at?

There really is no point in looking to us for the answers when all of the official information seems so hopelessly confused...

Levitt the debtor still owes £777.95

As everyone will know by now, today saw the publication of Sir Thomas Legg's report into MPs expenses. The report (which can be read here - this is a PDF file) mentions Tom Levitt on page 97, and tells us the following:
Mr Levitt was overpaid by a net total of £800.95 for mortgage interest between April 2004 and March 2006.
He was also paid £1,599 for a sofa bed in October 2004. This exceeded the nearest relevant guideline price of £1,210 by £389.
Total repayment recommended: £1,189.95
Total repayments received since 1 April 2009: £412.00
Balance recommended to be repaid: £777.95

Yes, you read that right - Levitt still has not repaid £777.95.

Now let's pay a little more attention to the implications of this news. Our initial post on this blog in May last year dealt with Levitt's first confession-like column, where he admitted to over-claiming for mortgage payments. At the time, following the intervention of the Telegraph a few days later, this figure was shown to be £6,000 and Levitt said he had paid it all back. But now we find out that 4 to 6 years later, £800.95 is still outstanding. May we also remind readers that the issue of overclaiming for mortgage payments is an ongoing issue for Levitt: buried in the files released last October is correspondence between the House of Commons Fees Office and Levitt where they point out he has over-claimed for his mortgage (and broken a previous agreement) to the tune of £1,428.98, which they then deducted from his future claims to ensure that it was repaid (page 66 of this PDF).

The sofa bed issue meanwhile, is one that we are familiar from October last year. Levitt loudly commented that he had repaid it in full, and he indeed seems to have paid £412, i.e. £23 more than requested. But then he still owes £777.95.

When he announced that he was standing down from Parliament in November, Levitt said with regard to expenses reform that "we need to demonstrate that a line has been drawn". But after all that has occurred, his sincerity is still an issue, hence the outstanding £777.95. Levitt this week gave the kiss of death to his successor as the Labour candidate at the next election, Caitlin Bisknell, by loudly trumpeting her success* and having his photo taken with her, shaking her hand. One starts to wonder who benefits from this - is there anyone left in the High Peak who would shake the hand of an out-and-out liar and fraudster like Levitt?

*when this link no longer works, try this screen grab

Monday, 21 December 2009

Levitt - already breaking the new rules

Released alongside the expenses details for the year 2008-2009 were details for the first quarter of 2009-2010, under the renamed Personal Additional Accommodation Expenditure allowance (PAAE).

This PDF contains the claim forms for April, May and June 2009, which were submitted on 23rd June 2009. In his weekly column two weeks earlier* (entitled 'Humility', without a trace of irony), Levitt had spoken of MPs "indulgences in an anarchic system of spending rules (sic)". Yet the PDF shows that Levitt had not grasped the now simplified expenses rules at all. The PAAE files contain a letter from the Fees Office reminding Levitt of said rules:

Effective from 20 May Members may now only use PAAE to claim rent, including ground rent, hotel accommodation, overnight subsistence, mortgage interest ... council tax, service charges, utility bills ..., insurance.

Therefore, we can no longer reimburse you for Broadband, garage rental and cleaning charges. Your claims have been reduced accordingly.

Levitt had overclaimed by £335. We'll remind Tom of his words in his column of 1st June** (entitled 'restoring trust in politics') - "Let me repeat that where the law has been broken or rules disobeyed then appropriate punishment should follow". In his column of 18th May 2009*** (entitled 'Statement on MPs' Expenses'), Tom made the following statement:

MPs generally are neither criminals nor fools; but we are all human and therefore fallible. Parliament has lost people’s trust and we need to win it back.
Levitt clearly felt so strongly about winning that trust back that just over a month later, he was submitting illegitimate claims. It must be his fallibility - after all, he's only human.

*when this link no longer works, try this screen grab
**when this link no longer works, try this screen grab
***when this link no longer works, try this screen grab

'Hungry' Tom Levitt and the MPs trough

One of the more interesting aspects of the Additional Cost Allowance claim documents released the other week is some of the correspondence between Tom Levitt and the Fees office.

On page 27 of the PDF, Levitt asks for guidance from the Fees Office in relation to his claims for food. Levitt states that for the year 2006-2007, he used a formula he has devised himself of claiming £18 for each day the House of Commons was in session. However, Levitt has convinced himself that this is insufficient, and raised in to £25 per 'sitting day' from April of 2008. Noting that £30 per day has been 'mentioned', he is arguably keen to find out if he can claim even more.

In any case, Levitt claimed £3750 for food in the year 2008-2009. This equates to £72 per week over 52 weeks of the year, or £10 each day (never mind 'sitting days').

But what makes Levitt's figures even more scandalous is the fact that the Houses of Parliament has numerous cafes, bars and restaurants that are already subsidised by the taxpayer. In February 2008, the Daily Mail reported that MPs "can enjoy three-course meals plus coffee for as little as £10.55", with this subsidy amounting to £13,041 each day. Yes, you read that right: MPs can claim expenses to pay for their meals which are already subsidised by us in order to keep the cost down.

Pigs with their snouts in the trough indeed...

Levitt - Ready, Steady, Crook!

We thought we'd walk you through a pictorial selection of Tom Levitt's Additional Cost Allowance claims, specifically those relating to his kitchen. So here we go.

First up is a claim for a cooker hob, specifically a Neff T1323X0 Ceramic Hob in Black. Teresa bought this in June 2008, a bargain at £449, but such a costly item clearly needs a warranty, and Mrs Levitt decided to take out 5 year cover for this item at the cost of £49.

6 days later in July, Teresa ordered a sink, this time a Blanco Classic 6S. This item costs £350, and unlike the one in the picture it had a left hand sink.

No modern kitchen is complete without a microwave, and Teresa's conscience clearly dictated she economise with a Panasonic NNE255, a snip at £59.

The last items on this little spree were a Microplane Fine Grater (£18) and John Lewis' own Soft Grip General Purpose Scissors (£13.50).

In March this year, the Levitt's completely refurbished their kitchen. They spent £189 on a Baumatic BT6-3GL cooker hood.

Strangely, there are no claims for a cooker itself, but the list of items claimed to re-style their kitchen is very long (it can be found on page 86 on the PDF) and they charged the taxpayer £5820.

When you're considering all this, keep in mind that the Fees office considered that all of these items were costs "wholly and exclusively incurred for the purpose of performing Parliamentary duties", as Tom is always keen to point out.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Tom Levitt's Barclays Premier account

One interesting thing that's worth noting from the PDF containing Tom Levitt's expense claims are the copies of bank statements. Whilst most of the details have been redacted, it's not these that interest us anyway. The statements make it clear that Tom and his wife Teresa have a 'Premier' account with Barclays.

If you pop along to the Barclays website for this account, you have to meet one of the following criteria to obtain this type of account:

1. Have an income of £100,000+, or
2. Have an income of £60,000+ if you are less than 35 years old or hold a business relationship with Barclays, or
3. Have £50,000+ to save and invest

Number 2 is clearly ruled out on grounds of Levitt's age. We think that number 3 is the most likely criteria that Levitt has used to get this account - but who knows, perhaps he has other (undisclosed) interests which mean he earns more than £100,000 each year?

Levitt's claims: 2008-2009 ACA claims

We've now updated our spreadsheet of Tom Levitt's expenses claims to take into account the latest figures released for his 2008-2009 claims. The spreadsheet can be found online at this link.

Under the general headings, the official total claimed by Levitt for this period was £20,522.58. However, we have carefully gone through the PDF that contains the details of his claims and can only seem to reconcile the figure of £20,526.18, which is £3.60 more than the official total.

Therefore, using our figures, these are the amounts claimed by Levitt for the financial year 2008-2009 under the Additional Costs Allowance:

Mortgage - £5,952.22
Food - £3,750.00
Utilities - £847.63
Council Tax - £1,093.64
Telephone & Comms - £250.00
Cleaning - £703.00
Service/maintenance - £1,136.67
Repairs/Insurance/Security - £286.96

Below is a selection of 'other' items claimed during the same period:

Bedding - £82.08
Ceramic Hob, Sink Kit, Microwave - £938.50
TV Licence - £139.50
Kitchen utensils - £178.00
Garage rental - £414.00
Valance - £15.99
Low energy light bulbs - £23.97
Cooker hood - £189.00
Kitchen refurbishment - £5,820.00
Hair clippers - £24.99

Friday, 18 December 2009

The Buxton Advertiser slams Levitt over latest expenses revelations

The Buxton Advertiser were this week the only local newspaper to take up the issue of the latest revelations about Tom Levitt's 2008/2009 expenses claims. You may remember that the revelations last week came too late for the newspapers.

Journalist Michael Broomhead - who previously seemed to be letting Levitt off lightly regarding the Capital Gains Tax issue - has now laid into him, choosing to highlight his smaller claims for hair clippers (£24.99) and a wine glass (£21.50), and contrasting this with the hardship being suffered by many at this time of year.

Now just over a week ago, we did promise a fuller analysis. Suffice to say we're working on it, and will be back shortly...

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Levitt- shop 'til you drop

It's that time of year again - yes, more revelations about expenses claims is breaking news today. And Tom Levitt has really done himself proud.

A fuller analysis of the revelations today will have to wait, but in the meantime, here are a few tidbits:
  • Levitt claimed £938.50 for a ceramic hob, sink kit and other items from John Lewis in June 2008.
  • Levitt claimed £24.99 for 'hair clippers' in July 2008, but his claim was refused by the fees office, as it was felt it was a "personal item and not a cost wholly and exclusively incurred for the purpose of performing your Parliamentary duties"
  • Levitt claimed £5820.00 in March 2009 to refurbish the Kitchen in his London flat. In a letter to the fees office, he explained the existing kitchen consisted of "1970s Kitchen storage units which need replacing. The goods have been obtained at a substantial discount", thank god...
You can view the claims and associated documents in this PDF. There'll be more news and analysis as we get it