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Lib Dem peer slammed for ‘double-dipping’ taxpayer cash

A peer was last night accused of ‘milking the taxpayer’ by furloughing himself while claiming the daily House of Lords allowance during lockdown.

Lord Fox, 62, has used the Government’s job retention scheme to pay himself as the owner of a strategic communications company.

But the Liberal Democrat frontbench spokesman for business has also chosen to take the £162 daily allowance for his work in the Lords, which is being conducted by Zoom during the lockdown.

In addition, he also has a £100,000 cash pot in his company and owns two homes worth more than £2million, according to the Telegraph.

A peer was last night accused of ‘milking the taxpayer’ by furloughing himself while claiming the daily House of Lords allowance during lockdown. Lord Fox, 62, has used the Government’s job retention scheme to pay himself as the owner of a strategic communications company

Asked whether having his private income paid by the state as well as taking the Lords’ stipend was greedy, he told the newspaper: ‘I don’t think conflating the two is even logical.

‘It’s what many companies are doing, which is furloughing their employees. If HMRC has thought it was ineligible for me to have applied for that, then they would have said so.’

His move was slammed by MPs who said he should give the money back.

Tory MP Robert Halfon said: ‘It is incredible that, when my residents in Harlow are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, this peer seems to want to milk the taxpayer at both ends, for every penny – both through the Lords allowance and the furlough scheme.

Tory MP Robert Halfon said: 'It is incredible that, when my residents in Harlow are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, this peer seems to want to milk the taxpayer at both ends'

Tory MP Robert Halfon said: ‘It is incredible that, when my residents in Harlow are struggling to keep a roof over their heads, this peer seems to want to milk the taxpayer at both ends’

‘The Chancellor needs to nip this in the bud and make sure this is not allowed. The least he could do is pay the furlough money back.’

He said the furlough scheme was never meant to be for ‘wealthy Lords’.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith added: ‘It’s a bit rum, furloughing yourself while being a legislator.’

Lord Fox is the owner and sole employee of Vulpes Advisory.

Accounts filed with Companies House show Lord Fox has access to more than £100,000 cash in his Vulpes bank account, according to the newspaper.

He furloughed himself and has already received his first month’s wage subsidy, of about £1,000, from the Government, it was claimed.

Asked why he did not first use the £100,000, he said: ‘I’m hoping to tide the business over, I’m hoping to relaunch it properly when the scheme… when the virus lifts.’

Lord Fox has a five-bedroom house in Windsor.

He reportedly bought the house in 1995 for £280,000 and it is now estimated to be worth up to £1.89 million.

He also has as a second home in east London.

He sits on the Lords economic affairs committee and it has held four hearings over the past month. Lord Fox will receive £648 for those hearings.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith added: 'It's a bit rum, furloughing yourself while being a legislator'

Sir Iain Duncan Smith added: ‘It’s a bit rum, furloughing yourself while being a legislator’

Lord Fox is also able to claim the daily allowance for his work as the Liberal Democrat spokesman for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Asked how many days in total he has claimed the Lords allowance for during lockdown, Lord Fox said he did not know the exact number but added: ‘It works out as quite a lot of work.’

Asked whether he plans to repay the furlough money, he told the newspaper: ‘That’s not something I’ve given much thought to at the moment, because I’ve been working about 14 hours a day on legislation.’

Lord Fox was awarded a peerage in 2014 and founded Vulpes Advisory in 2016.

Asked why he had furloughed himself, he said: ‘Because the business is absolutely moribund,’ adding: ‘My only customer before the lockdown was a company called Spectris.’

The Liberal Democrat party declined to comment.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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