Select Committee on Standards and Privileges Second Report

Annex J

Letter to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards from Mr Roy Beggs MP

At the time of your earlier inquiry, I had no other interests to be registered. The property at 41 Station Road, Larne had been transferred by my wife and myself to our daughters.

I have not paid tax or claimed allowance against tax since the property transferred to Mrs * * * and Mrs * * *. They have paid the tax due since.

Tax on rental income from 41 Station Road, Larne was paid. Tax allowance was claimed in 1994-1995 in respect of complete re-roofing. No other claim for Tax Allowance was made on rental income from 41 Station Road.

1.    This property was purchased at a cost of £10,000 in 1988. I enclose a copy of the valuation at the time of transfer as supplied to Auditors Brian Stewart, Beattie Marcus.

2.    No. Not deemed of substantial value.

3.    House bought in 1988 on 17th August. It was first used as a constituency office from December '89 and the rent claimed for 1989-1990 included a claim for sixteen weeks in 41 Station Road. The first full year rent claimed was for 1990-1991. No claim was made for 41 Station Road, Larne between August 1988 and December 1989. During this period renovations and alterations were made which were completed by the end of March 1990.

4.    I contacted the District Valuer after receiving one of your letters in which you asked if rent level was agreed with the Finance Department.

Rent was discussed with Robert Stirling & Co.
Auctioneers, Estate Agents, Valuers. Enclosed receipt.

4.    I advised you to contact the District Valuer formally for his assessment having formed the impression that the District Valuer worked for Government, Public Bodies. Mrs * * * and Mrs * * * engaged International Property Advisers DTZ McCombe Pierce whose Valuation report is enclosed.

5.    The rent level set was in keeping with rents charged for similar properties most of which were rented out at higher weekly rents than assessed by the District Valuer whose valuation determined the maximum level of Housing Benefit paid by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive to claimant in privately owned property. This was deemed to be a fair approach and appears to produce figures until recently which are close to your District Valuers assessment.

6.    No. I had not read the guidance notes. I did not consult the Finance office.

7.    Rent claimed in 90-91 was £2,080
Rent claimed in 91-92 was £1,297.43
Rent claimed in 92-93 was £2,080

The lower claim in 91-92 was because there were insufficient funds in Office Cost Account to pay rent which the District Valuer assessed at £2,340 per annum.

Rent claimed 93-94 was £2,600 (Same as Valuation & Lands Agency)
Rent claimed 94-95 was £2,600 (Same as Valuation & Lands Agency)
Rent claimed 95-96,96-97,97-98 averaged £2,619.35 ie. £19.35 per annum over Valuation.
Rent claimed since 1998-99 is above valuation by District Valuer but approximates to the Independent Valuation supplied by DTZ McCombe Pierce.

7.    Rent has been claimed at the end of the financial year when all other expenses have been paid. Low level rent claimed indicated insufficient funds in Office Costs.

I have repaid £58.05 in respect of years 95-98 (3 x £19.35) and £160.00 for 99-2000 to the Fees Office.

8.    I was advised when finalising my 96-97 tax accounts to make a will.

9.    It was transferred as a gift. No payment made. There was an independent valuation for tax which was supplied to the Auditor.

10.  You will be aware that solicitors take time to process instructions. Time had also passed before I found time to sign completion documents. Rent has always been claimed at the end of the financial year. Decision had been made at end of financial year 96-97 to transfer property and rent was paid to them for 1997-1998 when claimed in 1998. Mrs * * * and Mrs * * * have paid tax on rent received since 1997-98.

11.  Outright transfer was intended to be effective from 1-4-97.

12.  Tax has been assessed and paid by myself and Mrs Beggs on rent claimed from Office Costs Allowance up to 31-3-97 in respect of 41 Station Road, Larne.

13.  I have not moved office.

I have lived at 9, Carnduff Road, Larne since 14/7/1966. This is my home address. Some constituency work is done from our home and constituents are regularly assisted when they call here at all times.

As some correspondence from you to me had arrived opened, I gave instruction for my mail to be sent direct to my home until this issues is finally cleared up.

My constituency office is still at 41 Station Road, Larne. The tenancy will continue.

14.  Since I was first elected, property at 8 Glynn Road Larne was owned by Mrs E W Beggs from August 1983. Planning permission was obtained for change of use to office accommodation. Renovations, alterations and preparation for office use were carried out through 1984 into 1985.

From 1/4/85-31/3/86, 1986-1987, 1987-1988, 1988-1989 office rent was claimed at £1,300 per annum as agreed with Robert Stirling Auctioneer Valuer. 8 Glynn Road was occupied until December 1989 and then the constituency office transferred to 41 Station Road, Larne.

Rent claimed from Office Cost for 1989-1990 was £1,460 and tax has been paid.

In May 1984 No. 6 Glynn Road was purchased by our daughter, Mrs * * *. The intention was to integrate both properties. Plans were drawn up but could not be proceeded with because of redevelopment proposals for public housing and eventually a Vesting Order. No income was received from time of purchase to Vesting Order acquisition and as No. 6 Glynn Road remained vacant throughout the period, the £1,000.00 invested in 1984 realised only £55.16 in the compulsory purchase.

21 August 2001

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