Wednesday, 4 March 2009

It doesn't add up

Press, politicians and bloggers have been remarkably quiet about the Caroline Spelman scandal. Spelman clearly used public money to pay for a nanny and has to pay some of it back. The idea that this was "unintentional" is just one of those fudges that the establishment uses to protect its own.

According to the Guardian, John Lyon, the parliamentary standards commissioner, found that the nanny did a proper administrator's job but was overpaid for the work.

But the Independent's report shows that there are two different ways of doing the maths:

The report found that Ms Spelman paid Mrs Haynes £13,000 a year for doing secretarial work between 1997 and 1999. Ms Spelman said Mrs Haynes was paid no salary for taking sole care of her three children. Her nannying duties were rewarded with free board and lodging.

But when Mrs Haynes gave up the constituency work to concentrate on the nannying, Ms Spelman paid her a £13,000 salary out of her own pocket to cover the childcare.

A constituency secretary who took over was paid £4,800 a year less than Mrs Haynes for doing the work – and so the report found that Ms Spelman had been effectively subsidising Mrs Haynes' nannying job.

So Spelman suddenly paid her nanny £13,000 a year for nannying, having previously paid her nothing at all?

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