Tuesday, 15 April 2014
Nigel Farage, is he as anti establishment as he likes to make out??
Today see's the latest in a line of political figures coming under fire for their expenses. This time it is the medias darling of the moment the UKIP leader Nigel Farage. Nigel Farage has rejected "outrageous" claims that his taxpayer-funded EU office expenses of around £15,000 a year are too high. The Ukip leader is facing questions about his use of the EU parliamentary expenses system after it emerged he pays no rent on a small Bognor Regis property designated as his UK office. Between 2009 and 2013, Farage has claimed between £13,000 and £20,000 a year in office management and running costs for the site, averaging around £15,000 a year. However, a former office manager told the Times that upkeep of the converted grain store in terms of bills and other non-rental costs only amounts to around £3,000 a year, leaving around £12,000 a year unaccounted for. Farage hit back in an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, arguing he legitimately made use of flat-rate "allowances" from EU funds, which do not amount to expenses. He also said he would be prepared to have his expenses checked by an auditor "if that would settle the matter". MEPs can spend these allowances "how we see fit", he said. "I'm sorry, but this whole story and even the line of questioning here is simply wrong," he said. "Let's get this right from the start shall we? We do not claim expenses for running offices or any other activity that takes place within our member state the United Kingdom; we get an allowance, a fixed-rate allowance, and we can spend it how we see fit." "It is £3,580 a month, and that is given to every MEP; we can spend it how we want to, we don't have to provide receipts for it or anything like that. We are given recommendations as to what it can legitimately be spent on, which include the running of an office, paying for a mobile phone, buying equipment, hotel bills, restaurant bills, applying for subscriptions to websites, buying newspapers, there's a list as long as your arm on what this money can legitimately be spent on." Farage said he had always been open about using the EU cash to fight against Britain's membership while staying within the rules. He said he was taking legal advice about the Times story, accusing it of launching a politically motivated attack because it is an "establishment" newspaper". Hypocritical much? Nigel Farage likes to pose as being anti establishment but he is as much part of it as any MP out there. A former stockbroker in the city of London now turned career politician Farage has carved out a good career for himself and with UKIP looking set to do well in the upcoming European elections on 22nd may could this dent his image at all ? Earlier, the Times reported he had told them: "I don't pay rent on the office but I obviously pay for everything else," he said. "Whether it's the burglar alarm or electricity." He also disputed claims by the former grain store manager, saying: "About £1,000 a month is roughly what it is. Exceptionally I put more money in as and when it's needed." The newspaper reported he has been referred to the European expenses watchdog by a former Ukip official over how he has spent around £60,000 of office expenses since transparency declarations about expenses began in 2009. MEPs are not required to provide receipts proving how they spend their expenses, with the EU saying it is a "matter of honor" that they are spent correctly. The allegations emerge as Ukip is riding high in the polls while the Conservatives appeared to have taken a hit over former culture secretary Maria Miller's wrongly-claimed expenses. The Ukip leader said Miller has "taken the mickey out of the system" and called for David Cameron to introduce powers for the public to sack MPs over serious wrongdoing. Challenged about Ukip's own expenses scandals among MEPs, he said: "In the cases of the two individuals who behaved badly, I removed the whip and kicked them out of the party a long time before they were found guilty of anything." So Nigel, what are you waiting for? With extracts from today’s guardian http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/apr/15/nigel-farage-rejects-outrageous-eu-expenses-allegations?CMP=twt_fd