Review of past ACA payments: further supplementary report - Members Estimate Committee Contents


Letter from Sir Paul Kennedy to Mr Ivor Caplin, 5 March 2011

You were a Member of Parliament for Hove from 1997 to 2005, and for the period from 1 April 2004 to 30 April 2005 you submitted, as part of your ACA claims, monthly claims for mortgage interest in respect of your second home which in total amounted to £17,865.33, but you failed to submit the documentation normally required to support such claims, namely mortgage interest statements from your mortgage lender. In 2005 the Department of Finance and Administration wrote to you on two occasions, asking you to provide mortgage interest statements, but the necessary statements were not provided.

In late 2009 and early 2010, when Sir Thomas Legg was conducting his review of ACA claims, he wrote to you on four occasions, repeating in effect the requests which had been made to you in 2005. It seems that the addresses to which his letters were sent were no longer your current address, so his letters were not received by you. Having received no reply his report in relation to you reads:

"No reply has been received from Mr Caplin to a number of letters sent to the address held by the House authorities. In default of evidence to support payments for mortgage interest of £17,865.33 for 2004-05 and April 2005, I must regard these payments as having been invalid. Accordingly my recommendation is that Mr Caplin should repay the whole of this sum."

The recommendation was accepted by the Members Estimate Committee, and you tell me that you first became aware of it when the report of the ACA Review was published. You say that you then wrote to Sir Thomas Legg on 5 February 2010, but received no reply. In due course the Committee gave you leave to appeal to me, out of time, against the recommendation made in the ACA Review.

You have now produced mortgage interest statements from Barclays, your mortgage lender, which show that in the relevant period you paid to Barclays interest totalling £16,686.90, which is £1,178.43 less than you claimed. I accept that evidence, and I also accept that the discrepancy may well have been due, at least in part, to fluctuations in the rate of interest being charged by Barclays which may not have been known to you in detail at the time when you were making your monthly claims.

I would therefore allow your appeal by setting aside the recommendation that you repay £17,865.33, and substituting for it a recommendation that you repay £1,178.43.

This letter constitutes my decision in relation to your appeal. It goes to the Members Estimate Committee and is likely to be published. For obvious reasons I can do nothing about the press coverage which you received in the past.

As to the two issues which you identify in your Grounds of Appeal to me, I am satisfied that, on the information available to him, the conclusion of Sir Thomas Legg cannot be impugned. It is the fresh information now provided by you which has enabled me to allow your appeal. You raise, as a second issue, your right to claim second home allowance in respect of your property in Hove during the relevant period. That was not doubted by the ACA Review, only the amount of the claim was in issue, and therefore that is all I need to consider.

previous page contents next page

© Parliamentary copyright 2011
Prepared 1 April 2011