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In the early 2000’s economical climate when the British public were struggling to keep their heads above water and items for the garden are often put to one side as a new garden shed or summer house is not top of the list for replacement when there are limited funds available. You will find many garden sheds being converted to run small enterprises with a large range of activities.
Certainly buildings 24X8 or larger are ideal for this. Some involve the garden such as gardening, tree or hedge cutting or storage of general handy man tools and equipment. Along with that small offices or craft sheds are quite common. In many jobs expenses were paid to cover the everyday costs incurred in running their activities which makes total sense and is a perfectly valid reason for being paid. The Customs and Excise have quite strict guidelines on expenses stating that expenses have to be ‘by reason of the employment’ and this covers cases where an employee would not have received a benefit unless he was an employee.
Employment has to be one of the reasons benefit is granted but does not have to be just this reason however conditions to receiving benefit is an operative cause – clear as mud. I think I will clear off down the shed for a little contemplation.
MP’s were, and still are, of course, in the news in connection with claiming expenses from all manner of things such as gardening works, to second homes and possibly new garden buildings, new kitchens and bathrooms. Quite often claims were made but the money was not actually paid over as the goods were not bought. Now, it’s all well and fine, that expenses should be payable if the case is genuine and we would all like to do so. As they say ‘we are all in it together’ (If you believe that then you are probably in one of the Gentleman’s Clubs in London) but we are not and this claim is total rot.
The good news to come from the enquiry led by Sir Christopher Kelly is that MP’s will be barred from claiming for gardening expenses. This means that the gardener will have to be paid by the MP in question, they won’t be able to buy new garden sheds, fence, summerhouses or garden workshops. They won’t even be able to claim for repairing the garden shed or fence. Which has to be right!!
How can you justify a new garden shed or a tidy garden to be an expense in connection with their work? MP’s work mainly in offices and don’t need a garden shed or tidy garden to do their job properly (that’s a novel ideal – an MP doing his job properly) I suppose if a 24 x 8 shed or 20×6 summer building was converted to an office where the MP’s met his constituents then I would think that would be all right.
Some of the more outrageous claims included Douglas Hogg MP whose claim for notoriety was for his claiming for a new 24ft x 8ft duck house, essentially a garden shed for ducks. He was also criticised for claiming for the cleaning cost of his moat. David Heathcoat-Amory MP charged for 500 sacks of manure for his garden and Nick Clegg was asked to pay back £910 for his gardening costs. There were countless more claims involving garden related items.
Sir Christopher Kelly has proposed changes which will prevent MP’s claiming for any further gardening cost, which can only be seen as right. If they want a new shed, summer house, duck house or a tidy garden they should pay for it themselves. Also cleaning expenses were be closely scrutinised to ensure these are valid and fair.