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UK MP's Expenses FAT CATking.

Despite buying a delapidated Victorian house in the Staffs Moorland.
Then dooing it up at the taxpayers expence, to the tune of:

£9,383 on a luxury bathroom

£7,500 on new windows

£8,388 on cleaners

£4,017 on guttering and chimney work

£645 on loft insulation

£45,000 wages to her husband as a full time press secretary
Who seems to spend his time setting up websites axtolling the virtues of his wife.

And being the 5th highest spending MP in the UK

and spending nearlt £500,000 in 3 years on expenses Excluding travel.

STAFFORDSHIRE Moorlands MP Charlotte Atkins has told Your Leek Paper she has not abused the expenses system — despite spending almost £10,000 of taxpayers’ money on a new bathroom.
Your Leek Paper - Charlotte Atkins

The Labour MP spent £2,369 on new Minton tiles, which she said were ordered because she wanted to support businesses in the region.

The bathroom bill included £271 for a ‘compact vanity unit’.

Speaking to Your Leek Paper, Mrs Atkins avoided any reference to the issue of whether she would resign her post and vowed to pay back any money if Parliament thought any of her expenses claims were ‘unacceptable’.

She said: "I think it (the expenses scandal) makes people like me, who have worked very hard as an MP and who have always made honest claims, very disturbed because already I think the standing of MPs is relatively low and, of course, these headlines have created even greater distrust of politics and politicians right across the board.

"The atmosphere in the House of Commons is very dismal because people, rightly, have high standards of accountability and feel very depressed that they are being tarred with the same brush as those who have actively gone out to defraud the system."

Mrs Atkins also spent £7,500 on windows, £5,388 on cleaners and £4,017 on guttering and chimney work for her three-bedroom house.

The Labour MP also claimed, on average, £120 a month for gardening services during the past four years.

According to official expenses figures, in 2007-08 alone Mrs Atkins also claimed £4,365 on her mortgage, £575 on food, £2,495 on utilities, £1,604 on tax, £645.66 on phone bills and £3,118.62 in ’other’ expenses.

It means her total expenses claim stood at £23,674.14 in 2007-08, and a whopping £87,702.26 since 2004 — £27,000 more than Labour Stoke-on-Trent North MP Joan Walley.

Mrs Atkins said that MPs ‘need’ to have two homes and an additional costs allowance.

Her father, Ronald Atkins, used to be an MP and in his day, she said, politicians used to sleep in their offices and on trains.

She said: "I don’t want to go back to a time when MPs slept in their offices because I don’t think that is actually good for democracy."

Since the expenses scandal broke, many people have been critical that MPs claim for food when everybody has to eat — regardless of which home they are living in.

Mrs Atkins said that in London MPs have to spend a lot of time in restaurants.

Speaking about her other expenses claims, Mrs Atkins said she appreciates that people think her bathroom sounds ‘extravagant’, but claims it needed a lot of work and that much of the bill went to Moorlands-based tradesmen.

She said: "The reason I spent £10,000 on a bathroom is because the bathroom had to be completely gutted and I decided that I would use local suppliers.

"I decided to use British products, locally produced wall tiles and I decided I would use a British-produced bath, shower and toilet as well."

Questioned about the public anger surrounding her home improvements, Mrs Atkins said it was acceptable because MPs have to bear the cost of running two homes.

She said: "I think a lot of people have reacted by saying ‘why should we pay for her bathroom?’ Well the issue is that this is a second home."

The country will go to the polls next year and Mrs Atkins accepts that she will have a fight on her hands to regain her seat.

She said: "I think the next election will be fought on the issues of the future. Clearly with the next election I am already fighting an uphill battle anyway, in the sense that it is already designated as a Tory marginal seat.

"But I don’t think that people who know me and know my record will consider an honest allowance claim to be something that they will take into account in terms of their vote, especially given that it’s very clear that there have been abuses on the system but I have not been part of it."

The Labour MP criticised the ruling Conservative government of the 1980s, who first introduced the current expenses system.

She said: "It was brought in by Margaret Thatcher in 1983 simply because she refused to accept recommendations on MPs’ pay so it was obviously brought in as a way of supplementing MPs’ pay without actually saying it.

"Now that was dishonest in some respects. I think it’s absolutely right that transparency is the way forward."

Mrs Atkins does not think that her position in her constituency has been compromised and she is confident that she can still win support.

She said: "I think that my record as a hard-working constituency MP is embedded. I think a lot of organisations will recognise I engage with them and battle on their behalf and help them with their fights.

"I think that when they recognise that all I’ve been doing is using the allowance in a perfectly honest way, they will recognise that I have nothing to hide."

While Mrs Atkins has not set in stone any constituency meetings in the next week, she told Your Leek Paper that she is easily contactable by phone and email and that there will be a members’ meeting arranged before long.


Click to view image: '9fff3c7f0805-atkins.jpg'

Added: May-29-2009 Occurred On: May-28-2009
By: 24038462
In:
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Tags: charlotte, atkins, staffs, moorlands, ukip, mp, mps, mp's, expenses, labour, conservative, tory, tories, liberal, democrat., sinn, fein, bnp, government, parliament, uk britain, british, whitehall, no, number, 10,
Location: Stafford, Staffordshire, United Kingdom (UK/GB) (load item map)
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