The prospective Tory parliamentary candidate has made a fuss over the summer about his publishing of expenses. Taking a look at his site it says, amongst other things:
Taxable Gross Allowance Received: £7416.57
Charitable Donations through Give As You Earn: £1920.00
Expenses claimed: Nil
Other: Not applicable
Then some stuff about palace garden parties from this year, which I’m guessing is meant to impress…
Some observations: No expenses are claimed, which is fair enough, I don’t think I did over the four years I was in the Council. It’s nothing spectacular. Gross allowance received looks about right for a cabinet member, about £3,000 more than the normal councillor.
However, £1920.00 donated to charities via give as you earn. What’s this about? I don’t see any reason for listing it, except to show what a great bloke he must be for donating a slug of his allowances to charity. This figure would mean a lot more if put in the context of the household income and the household charity donations.
And I can’t help but think of Matthew 6:1-5:
“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
This isn’t meant to be an attack on his religious beliefs which I’m sure are strongly held. I’m convinced that he would normally agree with the line in the Bible, but I think that the desire to present himself as a generous chap to the electorate was too much.
Personally, I’m with Matthew on this one. Donations to charity should be a private matter. But now that the figure of £1920 donated to charity is out there, I’d like to know who received it. If he really believes in openness and transparency then he should list both the charities and the amounts they received.