BARBARA KEELEY…The Good, The Bad, The Very Interesting
Value For Money Rating: 2 out of 10
Barbara Keeley came a bit under the radar when the expenses scandal broke but a quick flick through her expenses reveals some proper `Gosh!' moments - no less than in late 2006 when she decides to buy a second home for the princely sum of £469,800 and claims £13,000 in one go towards the stamp duty.
Thereafter, taxpayers are forking out over £1500 a month paying all the mortgage interest payments. Which seems a bit strange because the property, from what we can gather, was bought in the joint name of Barbara Keeley and Colin Keeley Huggett, presumably her husband?
And while taxpayers are busy paying `just the interest' on the mortgage of over £1500 a month, the other bit paying off the capital is only around £134 a month, presumably and generously being paid by Colin. Meanwhile, we are also picking up the bill for all the service charges (over £280 a month), plus the ground rent on the property. Barbara also claims for tv licence, home insurance and council tax.
To her credit Barbara Keeley doesn't take the piss completely, and never claims for food or furniture in the property. The year before she moved, however, she did spend £419.25 on towels, bed linen, duvet and pillows. She also spent £216.97 on a `tv, linen and household items' which included 99p on a bowl, £56 on sheets and £9.99 on what looks like a `3 Tier Ass' according to the receipt. There was also £73 spent on kitchen items and a bathroom mat, plus another £70 on more bed linen and £40 on `bedding'. That's a lot of bed sheets for one person. Is she helping someone escape from jail or something?
There's also another strange payment that keeps cropping up in Barbara Keeley's expenses claims – during 2007-2008 she paid a total of £7850.75 to Headway Consultancy Services Ltd, a business consultancy based in Sale. What for? Who knows?
Expenses receipts also reveal a claim for 96p for Tescos Coconut Cookies and £5.49 for a Burger King meal. Barbara also claimed for two cameras – £212.97 for one in December 2005, and then £310.75 for another one, er, bought at the airport during the summer of 2007.
There's a lot of office furniture bought too. In August 2005 Barbara claimed £702.62 for office furniture, including £81.08 on a `burgundy executive chair'. In September she spent £1145.63 on more office furniture, and in October spent another £569.88 on yet more office furniture. Six months later, Barbara blows another £1824.67 on office furniture, including £320 on four armchairs. And, in May 2007, another chair arrives together with a filing cabinet at a cost of £332.05. A total of £4574.85 on office furniture in less than two years, which actually beats Hazel Blears' lavish office spending by a few hundred quid and dwarfs Graham Stringer's office costs of under £500.
Most Extravagant Claim: £20.43 for a `Solemate Foot Rest'
Barbara Keeley: Expenses value for money rating 2 out of 10 – let down by extravagant second home, lavish office costs, claiming personal accountancy on the taxpayers and claiming for Coconut Cookies
* You can see all of Barbara Keeley's expenses here
** For a full list of candidates standing in Worsley and Eccles South see here