A Norfolk MP drawn into an expenses row over renting out his London home last night insisted he had nothing to hide and had tried to save the taxpayer money by claiming less than his full entitlement.

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Norman Lamb, the MP for North Norfolk, was named in weekend national newspaper reports as being one of five MPs who claimed for hotel expenses during his Parliamentary work despite owning a property in the capital.

Speaking to the EDP last night, Mr Lamb explained that he had used the rental income from his Westminster flat to offset his hotel costs and other costs of Parliamentary and constituency bills, and lowering his final claim.

He began renting out his flat, which he bought following his election in 2001, after the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority ruled that MPs could no longer claim for mortgage interest on properties they owned.

“From the start I was very clear that I must not profit personally from the arrangements,” said Mr Lamb, who became minister for care services in the last government reshuffle.

“I used the profit from the rent of the flat to reduce the hotel bills and one or two other Parliamentary-related costs in the constituency.”

Mr Lamb claimed £7,388 in hotel bills in the last financial year, which he said would typically be three nights a week between Monday and Thursday. Under the guidelines, he is entitled to claim for the full cost of the hotel.

“If I’m working away from home I should be able to claim the cost of being away from home, but no more,” said Mr Lamb. “I believe it’s morally wrong to claim more than you are entitled to.

“Because I have chosen to set rental income off against hotel bills, I have been able to minimise the cost to the taxpayer of my staying in London.”

Mr Lamb could not put a precise figure on the savings but said it would amount “to thousands, not hundreds”. He added that had he continued living in his Westminster flat and claimed the service charge to which he was entitled, the cost to the taxpayer would have been “about the same”.

Figures from Ipsa show that Mr Lamb claimed £27,222.94 in the year 2011/12, which included £10,624.11 on office costs, and £4,675.37 on travel.

The total means the Liberal Democrat was the second lowest claimant of all of Norfolk’s MPs, with only North West Norfolk’s Henry Bellingham claiming less.

Conservative Brandon Lewis also found himself in the spotlight, after letting out a property in his Great Yarmouth constituency while renting another, though he said the decision not to rent in London cost the taxpayer around £8,000 a year less.

In 2011/12, Mr Lewis’s total expenses claim of £57,517.64 included £21,452.95 for accommodation.

But he told the EDP last night: “I’ve always strictly adhered to the rightly rigorous standards set out by Ipsa and moving forward I will not be claiming any accommodation expenses.”

24 comments

  • Peter Griffin - Are you ignorant? if not then why write drivel like you have? Someone's pension is very different to someone else's incorrect expenses claim.

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    KeithS

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • All little monarchs, just as corrupt or worse, I've been living on £60 a week for 6 children so go tell someone who gives a frick lamb. If you choose to work rather than claim, you get done over, like 'lambs' to the slaughter.

    Report this comment

    Jason Bunn

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • while we are on money . Did anybody see the economist on the bbc the other day . Figures out show that the coalition are only cutting spending by 3 pence in the pound compared to the last labour goverment . When the coalition term ends public borrowing will be an extra 600 billion on top of the trillion pounds left by the last labour goverment

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Bit fed up of the press straining at gnats these days, trying to find a bit of leverage in train tickets and hotel fees. Maybe the government should stop a bit of niggling and boost the economy by building a Hall of Residence for MPs where they are obliged to stay when at Westminster. Residences in constituencies should not be eligible for expense claims, because MPs and their families should live permanently in their constituencies, it would concentrate their minds wonderfully.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Why should these non productive, self serving 'crooks' be allowed to claim expenses? Most people who go to work are unable to milk the taxpayer for living and travel expenses. If ordinary people tried pulling some of the stunts MPs seem to get away with, they would be arrested and charges with fraud theft.

    Report this comment

    Tractorboy

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Well said Tim Will. It seems to me that NL is managing finances smartly for the benefit of all. I also think that the level of salary and expenses are fair. They are comparable (maybe even on the low side) with earnings that these individuals would command in the business-place. Those people complaining that they don't earn enough will mostly have the ability to reap rewards at this level. All that is lacking is the outlook, vision and gumption to actually push yourself to do it. It's easy to find reasons and excuses not to do so. Use the energy you spend on complaining and being negative into something positive and beneficial.

    Report this comment

    AE

    Thursday, October 25, 2012

  • Like your reasoning, Daisy Roots

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    weaversway

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • I read the article as if Norman owns a flat in London which he rents out ( possibly because he does not use it enough and can make more from letting it full time) and then uses the income to pay for hotel rooms and other expenses. What Brandon Lewis does I do not know-maybe he has let his flat for multiple occupation by some of the housing benefit crew that have surged into GY adding to the town's woes. I note a terraced house can be bought for £56,000 in GY so he should have no problem finding somewhere cheap to live when in the constituency. He might see what the people who have lived for years in the town face now and how their homes are being devalued and how the town centre is going to pieces. At least Norman Lamb is something like a decent constituency MP- poor GY seems to have slightly better educated Tory clone of their former Labour MP Anthony Wright.

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    Daisy Roots

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • I am sure Norman Hall is as pure as the driven snow. But why rent a London apartment to others when he is staying up to three nights at a hotel in London. Surely it is better to go to your own home than stay in an impersonal hotel. Why have a London apartment at all if you have no intention of using it for personal use. Sell it and then stay in a hotel. But what do I know of the intricacies of being an MP.

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • But "Norman is such a nice man".

    Report this comment

    Wandering Crab

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Better MPs spend it than letting Civil servants waste it on pensions

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • yea. OK Norman and you wont vote for tuition fees either. Believe this man and you will believe anything, he is on the gravy train with all the other grunts.

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    Farquarson-Smythe

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • just wondered how he could be expected to manage a long-term let around him using the flat now and again, as needed ? answer is that he couldn't. if he only needed it 2-3 nights a week it would be empty and not earning rent for the majority. fairly obvious some people don't realise all the good Norman Lamb does in our communities, and has done for many many years

    Report this comment

    Tim Will

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • milex, perpetual war in Afghanistan is one one big black hole for the taxpayer, we're committed to paying the fake 'Afghan' army wages and hardware for the twenty five years or so.

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Do we really believe that Norman knows what is "morally wrong" anymore? Is breaking a pledge to scrap tuition fees not morally wrong? What about the NHS bill? Or the council tax benefit cut he voted for?

    Report this comment

    Callum Ringer

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Is he still claiming for bike rides too?

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Did have soft spot for old Norman...not now, head in the trough with the rest of mp's.

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    nrg

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • £27,000 a year in 'expenses' ....? - somewhat ironic isn't it that thats more than double my wages and tax credits!

    Report this comment

    catalonia13

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • Perhaps because the more people you make unemployed the higher the benefit bill goes up? Unfortunately Norm's priorities are on helping the millionaires!

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Previous post by me should read Norman Lamb. Not Norman Hall which is me , an age thing I am afraid.

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    norman hall

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • Don't worry, just remember that "we're all in this together".

    Report this comment

    Wandering Crab

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • Our MP's future pension rights, their perks whilst in office, the stupendous wage going up to 92.000 soon, as well as the future job offers with one or other company he so enabled during this NHS privatisation, are all secure and well. What concerns could we possibly have with Atos or Hunum, just look at how many disabled people and those who depend on benefit have taken their own life's since the cuts were introduced by these minority coalition.

    Report this comment

    ingo wagenknecht

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

  • Normans buttery words whenever he speaks just a front for yet another greedy self-centred M.P. (MP short for my provisions) as that is what they believe our taxes are for

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    John L Cooper

    Monday, October 22, 2012

  • He earns £64,000 a year from being a minister and MP and still needs expenses? While the rest of us have to tighten our belts!

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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