In the week that 53 year old Stephanie Bottrill tragically committed suicide after landing an £80 per month Bedroom Tax bill (not that the BBC TV News bothered to report it), it was also revealed that MPs had made huge profits on flogging their tax payer subsidised second homes.
Amongst the list of 29 MPs ordered by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) to pay back a total of almost half a million pounds was Hazel Blears, MP for Salford and Eccles - who had to re-pay £7,644 on gains made from the sale of her London property in Clerkenwell…
…But the figure only relates to the value gain of her second home over a 15 month period, from June 2010 to August 2011 – a transitional period following the abolition of mortgage interest subsidy by the IPSA in the wake of the MPs expenses scandals. The IPSA today confirmed to the Salford Star that MPs don't have to pay anything for value gains on property made before June 2010.
The Daily Telegraph reports that Hazel Blears made a £120,000 profit on the sale of her tax payer subsidised second home. The Salford Star asked Hazel Blears' office to verify the profit figure but it has so far declined…
"Hazel sold her London home in August 2011 and therefore stopped claiming mortgage interest at this point - a year earlier than required by IPSA [Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority]" said a spokesman for Hazel Blears "Her expense claims in relation to this home were all in line with IPSA guidelines and she has fully paid the amount requested to cover capital gains following the sale of the property."
Hazel Blears hit the headlines in 2009 when she publicly handed in a cheque to the Inland Revenue to cover £13,332 in Capital Gains Tax she had `avoided' on the sale of two other properties in London which made a £45,000 profit (see here). The last of these was sold in 2004, following which she bought the property in Clerkenwell which the media valued at £500,000 in 2009.
At the time, Salford Star revealed that between 2004 and 2008 Hazel Blears had claimed £51,523 in mortgage payments for second homes (and a few hotel stays). In October 2008 her mortgage balance on the property she recently sold was £285,867 and repayments reached a high of £1,287 a month (see Salford Star story – click here).
During the transition period of the abolition of the subsidy (June 2010 – August 2011) Blears claimed £5,925 in mortgage interest. And sold the property in the month it ended, making a huge profit (if the Telegraph got its figures right).
While Hazel Blears has not broken any rules within this latest revelation, people who have to pay the Bedroom Tax, which penalises the poorest in society for having a spare bedroom, will be horrified that MPs can cash in on tax payer subsidised property gains for second homes.
* Hazel Blears wasn't the only Salford MP cashing in on second homes…
See Worsley MP Barbara Keeley's strange joint owned second home details – click here
And see how former Eccles MP, and now Salford Mayor, Ian Stewart, is doing rather nicely renting out his second home – click here and click here
For further information on MPs current expenses etc see the IPSA website - click here
See also Hazel Blears £1000 a day Crime Job - click here
Main photo shows Hazel Blears on SKY News with the Capital Gains Tax cheque in 2009