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 2004, July 2004, October 2004, November 2004, December 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.
Taken from the superb investigative site Politics in the Rother Valley and Maltby