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Revamp halts veteran's claims

PUBLISHED: 10:41 17 December 2009 | UPDATED: 17:25 25 August 2010

A VETERAN Labour MP quit claiming for fixture and fittings for his second home after the expenses system was revamped.

A VETERAN Labour MP quit claiming for fixture and fittings for his second home after the expenses system was revamped.

Erith and Thamesmead MP John Austin, who is due to retire at the next general election, claimed £150.86 for mortgage interest, £156.38 utility bill, £106.07 for a phone bill, £29.90 for home insurance, and an annual (09-10) council tax of £1086.19, all for his Southwark home.

The figures, published on the parliament website last Thursday included the second home allowance (Additional Cost Allowance) of all MPs from last year (08-09) and the first quarter of this year (09-10), when it was changed to the Personal Additional Accommodation Expenditure (PAAE).

But in February 2009, whilst still working under the old ACA, he spent £1,112 on dining room furniture, £89 on a coffee table, £75 on a 'contemporary' bedside cabinet, £299 on a sideboard and £599 on an oak extending table with six cream leather chairs.

He spent £82.31 on an Ikea trip on February 1, where purchases included four £2.69 cushions, light bulbs, a £8.80 rug, bath towels, a £7.99 reading lamp, and a £4.88 synthetic pillow.

A trip to Robert Dyas on January 24, 2009, at Lakeside in Essex, resulted in £81.91 being claimed on expenses, which included pans, two £6.99 Pyrex bowls, a £6.99 Silicone 'turner' and a £7.99 stainless steel tin opener.

Mr Austin was unavailable to comment at the time of going to press.

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