CAMPAIGN group The Taxpayers Alliance have praised Tommy McAvoy MP just weeks after criticising him for claiming money for a base in London.
Last month, the group said that Mr McAvoy should not claim the Additional Cost Allowance (ACA) because he owned another property in the capital which he rented out.
They accused the Rutherglen and Hamilton West MP, along with Chancellor Alistair Darling, former Home Secretary John Reid and Charles Kennedy, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, of “abusing the system.”
However, they have now backtracked in Mr McAvoy’s case, and have held him up as an example to others who claim the ACA for his transparency.
Mr McAvoy himself has been at pains to emphasise that no public money had been spent on the flat.
Last week on The Taxpayers Alliance website, they said they had been contacted by Mr McAvoy and were happy with what he had to say.
They confirmed that they were satisfied that Mr McAvoy does not own theadditional flat outright, but has it on a buy-to-let mortgage.
Mark Wallace, of The Taxpayers Alliance, posted the Blog and said: “Those circumstances put him in the clear, because it's not a flat that he could just stay in and save taxpayers' money instead of renting it out – if he didn't rent it he would either have to sell it, or he would have to live in it himself and then charge that to taxpayers.
“By being open he has allayed our concerns and undoubtedly the concerns of his constituents.”
The group had accused the MPs of claiming for an additional home while they were making money from another property that they could use.
Although this isn’t a breach of rules, the Taxpayers Alliance questioned the practice given the current economic recession.
They have now called on other MPs to follow Mr McAvoy’s lead and tell them the exact details of their situation.
Mr McAvoy, who said a Sunday newspaper had distorted the facts when the story broke, declares rental income from a London home in his Register of Interests.
This week he said: “I said from the start that not a penny of public money had been used to pay for this flat and I am really sorry that the story was run inspite of that.”