Alex Neil MSP Could Buy a Lot of Caravans for £100,000

During the expenses scandal at Westminster, the LibDems and SNP were keen to present a pious public image of themselves. As the former now are discovering, one reason for this was their then lack of any importance in the political landscape.

Despite representing Central Scotland, SNP Housing Minister, Alex Neil used Holyrood rules to purchase an overnight home in Edinburgh when he was elected in 1999. Paying only an initial deposit of £4,720 from his own pocket, mortgage repayments (not counting other sundries) were paid for by Holyrood. The Sunday Herald reports that he sold the property earlier this month for £200,000: thus securing a pre-tax profit of over £100,000, and escaping an increase on CGT imposed by the emergency budget.

Perhaps unaccustomed to justifying himself or his Party to hoi polloi, when asked he quipped if MSPs were expected to live in caravans. No, Alex, but nor are they expected to make six figure profits on properties which are, in short, grace and favour residences whilst they are public servants.

Elsewhere in the Sunday Herald article, Neil was at pains to state:

[…] he had bought the flat “in good faith” and had spent £50,000 of his own money on it through CGT, stamp duty, legal fees, furniture and repairs.

Maybe he sold the flat fully furnished, but I doubt it. Considering that utility bills and council tax and television licenses were also paid for, the remainder strikes as a very good deal for the cost of living which everyone else has to pay for from their own pockets: his response that criticism is akin to demanding he live in a hovel must rank up there with Gordon Brown’s belief that, as a father of two young boys with a wife who also worked, he was entitled to a cleaner which millions went without.

As the article also states, such behaviour has been seen across the floor in Holyrood; and another SNP Government minister, Adam Ingram is seeking to do similar.

But, it is all within the rules.


6 Responses to “Alex Neil MSP Could Buy a Lot of Caravans for £100,000”

  1. Subrosa Says:

    That does disappoint me and I will be emailing Alex tonight.

    Of course, it’s nothing on the par of Nicole Stephen or even Tavish Scott, but hey hoo, anything to bash an SNP MSP. You’re doing well.

    • efrafandays Says:

      Oh, I’m equal rights in my ghast at misbehaving MP/MSPs, as the first paragraph and previous post should indicate.

      Has Scott sold his flat? All I can recall about Stephen is that he claimed for petty things as well as personal items for his family. An unpleasant sense of entitlement which, had I been blogging at the time, I would have quipped about, but still not on a par with rushing through a sale so to profit by one hundred grand before the rules changed.

      I’d be interested to know if any of the MSPs currently renting are renting from Party colleagues.

  2. Alex Neil MSP: Psalm 116:11 « A Rabbit's Eye View of the Hyperborean North Says:

    […] A Rabbit's Eye View of the Hyperborean North Promoting Peace Through Superior Firepower in Caithness « Alex Neil MSP Could Buy a Lot of Caravans for £100,000 […]

  3. Allan Smith Says:

    Salmond has made political capital during the past year over the SNP supposedly being “squeaky clean” over the expenses scandal.

    As it turns out, during the past few months we’ve had Sturgeon and the “Cash for lunches” scandal followed by this disgrace.

    The irony over Neil being a Minister in charge of “Social housing & Comminities” is surely not lost on El Presidente?

    • efrafandays Says:

      Aye, the worst a politician can do, I think, is to have feet of clay or insult the intelligence of the electorate.

      The SNP remain as insignificant to the likes of the Daily Telegraph, so won’t have the same scrutiny now devoted to their expenses as the LibDems are enjoying.

  4. lifelinking Says:

    Good piece thank you.

    I have blogged on this myself here and started a Facebook page called ‘Give the money back’ here where you can leave a comment if you agree that they should indeed, give the money back.

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