Jacqui Smith - Standards and Privileges Committee Contents


Thank you for your letter of 25 June about the above complaint. You ask that I confirm your summarised understanding of the case.

In the main your understanding is correct. The one point of clarification would be that, as I understand it, not all of the "event" charges made in the eight months were "namely films". There were occasions when pay-per-view sport was purchased. I think a description of "charges for additional entertainment elements including films and sport" would be more accurate. Such a description would also echo wording in the Green Book where it prohibits ACA claims for entertainment.

You ask how event charges could have been included in the eight months of claims. I am afraid I did not see the supporting documents setting out the make up of the charges. If I had I hope that I would have picked up on their unsuitability.

I accept that there should have been no variation in the amounts claimed had I simply claimed for the basic broadband Virgin services. Variations month by month were reasonably small, typically by less than £11. However that there were any differences should have set alarm bells ringing. I am afraid it did not.

I have accepted that claims for entertainment are not allowed against the ACA. I am, of course, sorry that such claims were made and sorry that they were not picked up by the Fees Office when they first occurred. It is a matter of great regret and embarrassment to me that I did not check this element of my claims in more detail.

Thank you for your time in investigating this matter. As always, if you require further information I will be happy to provide it.

5 July 2009

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