Fees Office blamed for Osborne expenses breach

George Osborne must repay £1,666
George Osborne must repay £1,666

By politics.co.uk staff

George Osborne has been ordered to pay back £1,666 after breaching expenses rules, but MPs have made clear they blame the Fees Office for his "unintentional" overclaim.

The shadow chancellor nominated a property in Cheshire as his main home but continued to claim mortgage interest payments for it from 2001 to 2003.

Under the additional costs allowance, mortgage interest payments are only permissible on an MP's second home.

The Commons' standards and privileges committee agreed with parliamentary standards commission John Lyon that "it would be unfair to see this as a serious breach of the rules".

"It appears not to have been intentional, in that Mr Osborne took advice from the Fees Office and believed the arrangement to be within the rules," the report notes.

However it adds: "We are nonetheless surprised that even under the relatively relaxed allowances regime of 2001, the Fees Office should have considered it acceptable for a member to claim ACA on that part of a mortgage which, while it was secured on a second home (at the time, Mr Osborne's house in London), related to the purchase of a designated main home (at the time, Mr Osborne's house in Cheshire)."

Mr Osborne had already repaid £270. As the report concluded he should not have claimed £1,936 he has now been asked to pay the remainder - £1,666.


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