As UK MPs hide extra income, state-supported people must declare every penny

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A new openDemocracy survey today reveals that in the pandemic year, side-shoving British MPs grossed them a total of nearly £ 5million, in addition to their annual salaries of £ 82,000 sterling.

But the numbers we have analyzed considerably underestimate the wealth that is pouring into the coffers of MPs. The rules on the declaration of financial interests gives our representatives a lot of confidentiality – which is in stark contrast to the level of financial information you or I would have had to provide to access financial support last year.

The interests of deputies are still too secret …

116 MPs with significant homeowner incomes must report the number of properties they rent – one thing at a time Jeremy Chasse and Boris Johnson were notoriously rather slow to make – but not how much their real estate portfolio is worth. They also don’t have to tell us how much they get in rent – just if it is over £ 10,000 a year.

Given that average rents in London are almost double sum; one a significant number of MPs rent a house in Londons (including those purchased with taxpayer money under the old spending system); and that about half of the owners of Conservative MPs rent more than one property, the rental income of many MPs is likely to be significantly higher than revealed by the parliamentary interest register. But how much higher, we must not tell ourselves.

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Members also do not have to declare the value of any other savings, shares or property they hold, unless they hold a particular stake of more than £ 70,000 or more than 15% of the shares of a company. And even then, as with rental income, it’s a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer – they don’t have to tell us how much more.

They also don’t have to tell us what level of dividend payments they receive from any of their holdings.

And they certainly don’t have to tell us anything about their spouse’s income or financial assets.

… while applicants must declare everything

Compare that with the situation you or I may have found ourselves in over the past year. If we had lost some or all of our income to the pandemic and had to seek help from the state, we would have discovered very little room for privacy.

If we are to claim universal credit, the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) wants to know every last penny we earn. He also insists on knowing the exact value of any savings we may have, the value of any property we lease, and any equity interest. Not only our own, but also those of our partners or spouses.


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