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Nothing better illustrates the vile hypocrisy of Maria Miller and the MPs on the House of Commons standards committee than the contrast between the treatment of Paul and Susan Rutherford and the treatment of Miller herself.

Paul and Susan Rutherford – themselves disabled - look after their severely disabled 13 year old grandson, Warren, in their specially adapted home.

Paul and Susan were originally clients of our own Sangeeta Enright. They have an additional bedroom in their home for carers who stay overnight twice a week to give Paul and Susan some respite. By caring for their grandson at home the Rutherfords save the taxpayer the massive cost of residential care for Warren.

But, in spite of David Cameron insisting in July last year that:

“Anyone who needs to have a carer sleeping in another bedroom is exempt from the spare room subsidy.”

the Rutherford’s have been hit by the bedroom tax. This is because a spare room for carers is only permitted if it is the claimant or their partner who needs a carer, not if it is a disabled child.

When they applied to their local council for a discretionary housing payment the Rutherfords were also refused that on the grounds that they should use Warren’s DLA to pay for the shortfall in their rent.

The case has been taken to Judicial review by CPAG. Tom Royston, of Garden Court North Chambers, who recently provided Benefits and Work with a round-up of bedroom tax case law, will be acting for the Rutherfords.

Between 2010 and 2012, Maria Miller was minister for the disabled, part of the DWP team that created the bedroom tax which has been applied so harshly to the Rutherfords.

When she became an MP, Miller designated her family home as her second home and claimed expenses on it, in spite of the fact that her parents were living there and expenses rules clearly forbade MPs to house their parents at the taxpayers’ expense.

Miller was ordered by the commissioner for parliamentary standards to repay £45,000 in expenses and apologise.

However, the House of Commons standards committee, which is made up of MPs and has the final say, ruled that she needed only to repay £5,500 in overpaid interest payments. They decided that as Miler was caring for her parents in her home before she started claiming expenses, she should be let off the £40,000 in wrongly claimed expenses.

Miller has since sold her taxpayer subsidised home for a profit of over £1 million, but not before designating it as her main home again to reduce tax liabilities.

So, if you are an ordinary citizen as well as a decent and incredibly selfless carer saving the state a fortune, you deserve to be penalised in these times of austerity.

If you are a government minister ignoring the rules and making a massive profit as a result, you deserve to be let off with a tiny repayment and a 32 second apology.

There is a petition calling on Miller to repay the £40,000 or resign here. It had received 150,000 signatures at the time of writing.

Anyone wanting to read the entire correspondence between Miller and the commissioner can do so here.


+2 #6 Jim Allison 2014-04-09 16:29
And just to prove the hypocrisy of Ministers, see:

In advance of a debate on ‘Fit for Work’ test statistics , Work and Pensions Select Committee member Sheila Gilmore today took the unusual step of emailing an advance copy of her speech to the Minister due to respond, Mike Penning. ( Current Minister for Disabled People.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)provides support for people who cannot work due to a health condition or disability. Since it replaced Incapacity Benefit in 2008, data from the Department for Work and Pensions has shown that, of all claimants declared as ‘Fit for Work’, one in ten are subsequently awarded ESA after a formal appeal.

In her speech Sheila Gilmore will argue that the number of Fit for Work decisions and successful appeals have been artificially suppressed. This is because figures that supposedly showed the number of people awarded benefit immediately after assessment and before ANY appeals actually already took into account the results of informal appeals against refusals.

In February the Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir Andrew Dilnot, described these statistics as ‘potentially misleading’ and called into question their status as ‘national statistics’.

+3 #5 Puccalove 2014-04-09 16:17
I just heard the news that Maria Miller has resigned, this is the first bit of politics related good news I've heard in a while. I still think she should pay back the money but doubt this will happen. I signed the petition and was hoping to see the back of her but wasn't holding my breath. When she was the Minister for Disabled People she wrote to me telling me how the government had to save money in this time of austerity, what a hypocrite! I cannot forgive her for her hand in the erosion of disabled peoples rights in this country. Tomorrow I am celebrating my charities 35th anniniversary, now we have two things to celebrate. :lol:
+2 #4 Michael 2014-04-09 14:52
Nothing ever seems to change for the better, those in power protecting those in power. DM’s the DWP, MP’s, would all rather believe the liar’s and vindictive people there seem to be so many of today, than the less fortunate in society. The less fortunate in society have enough burdens to carry, the increase of food banks would be a clear indication to any with half a brain that things are not right in this nation, but MP’s need a select committee to tell them. The answer is simple, they either don’t care, or don’t understand, or more likely both.
+8 #3 Jim Allison 2014-04-09 11:59
I see it's been announced that she resigned this morning. Whether she did or was pushed, we'll never know.

Good riddance, she was a lousy Minister for Disabled People, as was her successor Esther McVey ( the 'scouser' who ttys to talk posh :-*

Now we have Mike Penning :roll: as Minister for Disabled People - equally useless who has on his own admission admitted he's misled Parliament on more than one occasion !

What a shower of impostors and liars.
+5 #2 Bill24chev 2014-04-09 08:56
She seems to be playing some sort of Monopoly game at tax payers expense.

Maybe its time for her to pickup a chance/communit y chest card saying "go to jail, do not pass go and payback the £40K
+4 #1 Jim Allison 2014-04-08 22:34
What about the vile hypocrisy of David Cameron ? He claimed DLA for mobility and care for his late son, who sadly died from a rare illness.

I have empathy for him and his wife, because we also lost a son in a tragic drowning accident, and I'm sure both he and his wife are still coming to terms with their sad loss.

However, with his great wealth, I think he was a hypocrite to claim DLA for his late son, when now thousands are losing their DLA and PIP despite being on the breadline.

As for Maria Miller, former Minister for Disabled People, she should resign, or be sacked, and Norman Tebbit former Tory Minister and those of his ilk will no doubt ensure she does one or the other !!

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