A few things I have noticed – Kevin Barron’s Parliamentary Expenses

I’ve not had time to study the expenses for Kevin Barron MP extensively yet, and as so much of them are blacked out it’s hard to get much information from them. For a start there are no addresses on any of the documentation, so it’s hard to see which invoices relate to his office, which to his Westminster flat, and which to his Maltby home.

A few things have caught my eye though. Take this invoice. And this one. Both for preparing his tax return. As a ‘normal’ memeber of society I have to pay an accountant myself to prepare my tax return, and I can’t even claim the VAT back. If you’re an MP though it’s different, and you can claim the whole thing as an ‘expense.’ Quite a big expense, as it happens.

This receipt for furniture is quite surprisingly large. It’s for £7109.79. That is a heck of a lot of furniture. I think is is ostensibly for his Dinnington office, but as the address is blacked out it’s hard to tell. If it is for the office it is obviously something of a TARDIS. It looks like a normal retail unit, but it must be much bigger, because £7k is enough to buy 46 decent desks and chairs at Ikea. Actually now I’ve looked further that £7k on furniture in March 2006 is especially startling as he also claimed £227 for office furniture in May 2004. I can’t locate the receipt for that furniture, but I understand that receipts for items under £250 are not needed. You’ll note on the claim form listing the furniture Kevin Barron’s common habit of claiming £200 in petty cash. This appears on a lot of his forms, and is un-receipted. In fact Kevin claimed £200 in ‘petty cash’ without receipts in April 2004, May 2004, June 2004July 2004, October 2004November 2004December 2004, and in  January to March 2005 (£650). That’s every month he could have claimed it, and the maximum amount each time – apart from January to March where he claimed £50 more. It all adds up to £2050 of tax free cash with no receipts to back it up in one year. He seems to do much the same every year.

This one is even stranger. It’s not even an invoice, it’s just a letter from Dinnington Operatic Society asking Kevin Barron MP for a fee of £32. I’ve no idea what it is for as he has obliterated all the other information. It’s something he has claimed as necessary as part of his work as an MP, whatever it is.

Next we have this invoice from a computer company called K&R Consultants. I can find no record of a computer company called K&R Consultants on the internet, and sadly Kevin Barron has blacked out all the bits of the invoice that might help identify them. There is a K & R Systems listed in Yell as being in Skegness, so perhaps they’ve changed name slightly since then. I understand Kevin has a son called Robbie. Anyway, the interesting thing about this invoice is that it includes £39 for ‘changes and updates to website‘ As Kevin Barron doesn’t have a website I’m baffled as to what this might mean. The plot thickens though, because there is another invoice from the mysterious K&R Consultants in Match 2007, this time for the rather more substantial amount of  £953. This breaks down as £125 for the purchase of a domain and webspace, and £414 for the migration of ‘the old website’ to a new webserver and £414 for changes to the website. Sadly there is no mention as to which website this might be. I’ve never seen a website for Kevin Barron – can someone who has been around longer than me let me know if to their knowledge he has ever had one?

On the subject of websites – and remember Kevin Barron MP doesn’t have a website  – this invoice from December 2004 also caught my eye. It says it is for ‘combined renewal of domain name registration fees and web/email hosting services for” and then the rest is blacked out – including the cost. However, we can tell from the form Kevin Barron MP has filled in that the cost was £88.12.

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9 responses to “A few things I have noticed – Kevin Barron’s Parliamentary Expenses

  1. I can’t imagine why he would need to use £8,000 of taxpayers’ money to purchase a printer for his “little” office. It clearly demonstrates his complete lack of business acumen. A small business would not purchase this sort of equipment (unless they have another business or “friends or family” who could benefit from it) Maybe he’s simply spent too much time as an MP and has lost touch with the real world. It’s time for change Kevin!

    It’s also amazing how so many MPs (not just Kevin) have claimed the maximum petty cash amount.

    …and don’t get me started on his websites, or lack of them. His new site is still being built. I would have sacked my website designers by now, although maybe it’s going to be an amazing site with lots of extras. According to HBR’s website (the website designers) Alun Michael, MP for Cardiff South and Penrath appointed HBR a few weeks after Kevin. His is up and running.

    Derke Wyatt, MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey paid HBR £1200 + £200 per month for his website.

  2. £200 a month? Strewth. This website is absolutely free, and does the job just as well. There are many prominent political figures using free websites.

    The website I use for my business needs slighty more advanced hosting so it can run scripts to make online payments work – that weighs in at a hefty £7 a month …

    The rule of thumb for any expense should always be ‘if I could keep the difference between that price, and the best price, would I shop around’

    The £7k was for ‘furniture’ rather than a printer by the way – but your point still stands.

    Has Kevin Barron MP ever had a functioning website, do you know?

  3. The invoice from East Pennine Office Equipment is for an Olivetti 251P Colour Printer. Total cost £8438, including fitting. I’ll do a bit of research into his websites.

  4. Thanks Dizzie – I’ve seen the invoice you mean now. I rang East Pennine earlier to find out more about the printer model, but it was after 5pm and there was no-one there. An Olivetti 251p is quite a thing though – http://www.webaruhaz.hu/kereso/kepek/ineo+251.jpg

    It looks like it’s a copier as well so now checking if he also claimed for photo copying after he bought this beast.

  5. “If it is for the office it is obviously something of a TARDIS. It looks like a normal retail unit, but it must be much bigger, because £7k is enough to buy 46 decent desks and chairs at Ikea.”

    The office at Dinnington is nothing like a Tardis – well, the bit that the public see anyway. The door opens into the waiting area which has 3 or 4 chairs along 3 walls(ordinary plastic with metal legs waiting room style chairs) The fourth wall has a large photocopier against it (circa about 1990, I think)
    Next to the photocopier are a few boxes of paper and ink refill containers. In the middle of the room is a coffee table with piles of “things you should know about your MP” leaflets.

    I have not had the opportunity to look in detail at Kevin’s office at the back of this room where he meets his constituents, as he was so keen to get rid of me and my colleague that we barely had time to sit down, let alone survey the furniture. However, it did not appear particularly spectacular or new and if the seven thousand and odd pound has been spent on furniture for this then I would certainly think a training course in purchase managemnt is required for Kevin and his “team”.

    As for websites……..huh…………………….

    (and imagine it’s about time for a new camera soon, too)

  6. I’m going to sort out the expenses things into some sort of order soon – but on the subject of the ‘circa 1990 photocopier’ – was this recently?

    Kevin spent £8,438 on a flashy printer/scanner/copier thing a few years back, which looks like this http://www.webaruhaz.hu/kereso/kepek/ineo+251.jpg

    Is that not in his office?

  7. Almost sure the photocopier that I was speaking of (the one in the waiting room) was not that one in the picture. He may have another one somewhere, but as I was waiting in this room, he came out of his office twice and used the machine to copy some things.

    I may have a run over to Dinnington this week and check this out – I know my memory is not as good as it used to be and I am not particularly interested in photocopiers per se…but I am sure this one would have stood out in my mind rather than the rememberance of the rather grotty looking machine that was there (about a month ago) Perhaps Kevin will lend me one of his cameras to take a picture of the machine.

  8. Pingback: Enemies of the People

  9. Pingback: Kevin Barron has no issues, it says here. « Politics in the Rother Valley

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