Letter to Mr Roy Beggs MP rom the Parliamentary
Commissioner for Standards
Thank you for your letters of 21st and 22nd August
in reply to mine of 23rd July and for the documents enclosed.
I am now clear on most of the points I raised but
there remain one or two on which I am still uncertain and would
be grateful for your help.
The paragraph numbers I use refer to those in your
letter, which, in turn, relate to those in mine.
1. Thank you.
2. I note that you did not deem the property
to be of substantial value at £10,000.
3. I note that you did not begin to use
the property as your constituency office until December 1989 and
that you claimed sixteen weeks rent in 1989-90 for 41 Station
Road. How much did that amount to?
4. You say you discussed rent with Robert Stirling
& Co, whose receipt you enclosed. Please would you send me
a copy of the valuation provided by Robert Stirling & Co.
as a receipt for their services is insufficient. It would appear
that in 1990-91 all the rent claimed was paid to your wife. Was
this the case? Other than in 1990-91 please let me know how you
divided the rent with your wife or any other person.
I note that the valuation provided by DTZ on the
21st August 2001 to Mrs * * * and Mrs * * * relates only to the
period from 2000 onwards. I also see that from 1st April 2000
you rent the property on a five year lease. On what basis did
you occupy it from 1997 onwards, and why did you change that basis?
5. You say 'the rent level was set in keeping
with rents charged for similar properties most of which were rented
out but at higher rents than assessed by the District Valuer whose
valuation determined the maximum level of Housing Benefit paid
by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to claimants in privately-owned
property. This was deemed to be a fair approach and appears to
produce figures until recently which are close to your District
Did you take
independent advice as to what the Housing Benefit figure should
be, and if not how did you establish it?
If you mean that you took what you assumed
or knew would be the Housing Benefit figure and added a proportion
to it, how did you decide on the proportion to be added?
When you say this system 'was deemed
to be a fair approach' was this your own view or did you have
independent advice? If the latter, what was it and who provided
Can you shed any light on why the District
Valuer's assessment should suddenly diverge so markedly from your
own (and that provided by DTZ)?
7. Thank you.
8. I asked why you decided to make the property
over to your daughters when you did and you replied 'I was advised
... to make a will'. Please would you explain this. I do not need
information about your will but I do need to know why you made
the property over to your daughters at that time.
9. Thank you. Was the 'independent valuation
for tax which was supplied to the auditor' the valuation supplied
by DTZ? If it was otherwise please provide me with a copy.
10. Thank you.
11. I asked you who paid tax on the rent allowance
and the rent between 31st March 1997 and January 1998. You replied
'Transfer was intended to be effective from 1.4.97.' Did your
daughters then pay tax from the 1997 date? I assume they paid
tax on the rent you paid them. Did you pay any tax on the allowance?
Please would you confirm with the Inland Revenue that you have
no tax outstanding, for any years, on the rent allowance or rent
and let me have sight of the confirmation.
12. Thank you.
13. Thank you.
14. One final point. Thank you for providing
me with information about 6 and 8 Glynn Road, Larne. Please would
you let me know which years you rented these properties from your
wife/daughter as a constituency office, the rent paid each year
and claimed from the OCA and the basis on which the rental valuation
With many thanks.
3 September 2001