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Travel Claims - Where to Draw the Line?

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Travel Claims - Where to Draw the Line?

Old 11th Nov 2013, 19:39
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Travel Claims - Where to Draw the Line?

Former Wren to ex-minister: You Sir are a disgrace - Telegraph

I can entirely see the point of view from Ms Laing; however, where does one draw the line when it comes to expenses for duty? If he had chosen to go there on a personal level, then it certainly should be for him to foot the bill. If he was there in an official capacity then surely the taxpayer should meet the cost of travel; if not then where would one draw the line as to what is duty and what should be achieved out of your own pocket?

Claiming for a donation to RBL on such an occasion would not be in good form, but this is simply getting there.

Now I know a lot of MPs have their snouts in the trough and JPA (along with tedious JSP 752 rules) would soon sort them out, but does anyone think Ms Laing was really right?

H
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Old 11th Nov 2013, 19:44
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Yes she was without a shadow of a doubt.
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Old 11th Nov 2013, 20:47
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If there was a serious level of personal expense involved, I could accept the claim. For 7 or so, it's a joke. However, if his staff/secretary does it for him, and it's buried in a skip load of other claims, I can excuse it falling though the net of his conscience.

That said, I worked with (not for) an RE lt col who would assiduously claim his 0.52 bus fare when he visited other MoD buildings. But then he would also only drink coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon. The RAF guys in the office told him to get on with his personal preferences, and just brewed for each other.
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Old 11th Nov 2013, 20:58
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OK look at the other side of things -bills being sent out for trivial sums eg 2p for over tipping! I guess every argument has 2 sides, not sure I disagree with the col the system would soon take it back off him.
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Old 11th Nov 2013, 21:15
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Damn right she should have done this - were i in the faceybrook thigamig i would send her a sheep - or whatever it is to show your support.....

IF any of these troughing scumbags wish to swap jobs for a week I am sure there is a whole country full of people willing to do so.

FYI - just because its in the rules does not make it right, that is what ones moral compass and conscience is........oh wait a minute, this is the pollies isnt it? forget that.
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Old 11th Nov 2013, 21:55
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Cornish- stormrider,

I have to say, and it probably matters little, that I for one agree with your post 100%. When we see stories of MPs who are multi millionaires claiming a few pence here or there, and then think how they rail and rant at us plebs claiming anything, I'm sure this lady was correct in making her point. Nice to see some are not put off by title or privilege. Mrs Smudge is equally in agreement.

Smudge
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Old 14th Nov 2013, 18:29
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It is not just this but all the way through charity fund raising.

Professional fund raisers earn big bucks. Think Children in Need, of all those celebs manning telephones or appearing on the box don't do it from the goodness of their hearts.

One that used to raise a question to me was when AM Whoever, rtd, would pitch up at an air show to collect a big cheque from Gp Capt Staish. Did he pay his own way? Did the RAF BF pay him? Did his expenses come from the air show?

PS

When I was 'organiser' in one charity I ensured I claimed for every mile, 2nd class stamp, paper, envelopes and ink. My expenses were met from dues paid by the membership. I then sent all the expenses money to head office charity and under gift aid it was uplifted by the 22%. May be our MP did the same
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Old 14th Nov 2013, 19:51
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PN

I like your thinking. I would like to say that I thought our legislators were as savvy, but..
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Old 15th Nov 2013, 05:00
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She was dead right!

Bob C
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Old 15th Nov 2013, 05:23
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This claim seems absolutely clean, when compared to Australian politicians claiming expenses to attend friends' weddings.
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Old 15th Nov 2013, 07:19
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You lot must have served in a different RAF to me. The one I was in everybody (including me) claimed for everything they could and often argued about the stuff they couldn't.

How do you sign up for this morally pure RAF you lot served in?

PS

I was a Sqn Ldr...so I know what people claimed for because I was countersigning their claims...like every *****ing day.

Hypocrisy is an ugly thing.
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Old 15th Nov 2013, 08:30
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So, if you were tasked to attend a service on behalf of the MoD none of you would claim for it? If it is just round the corner it probably wouldn't be worth it, however, what if it involved a 2 hour round trip? Is that ok? Or, should we expect to pay for those duty journeys ourselves? Should I not use MT as well? What if you get tasked to many memorials a year?

It all smacks a bit too much of Daily Mail outrage.
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Old 15th Nov 2013, 09:25
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TOFO, to a point I agree. I said once before I was offered two 1771 at the same time by two SNCO for same-way same day journeys for the same purpose. They used subtly different starting places but as I knew the area I knew they were only a quarter mile apart. One had times of 30 minutes for a 30 mile journey; the other was more realistic. I rejected them and they were not resubmitted to me.

However on hypocrisy, we know that often there were more legitimate extra expenditures where claims were either inadmissible or inadequate, the Rates IV and V were IMHO the most likely causes.

For our MPs and VSOs etc, and Captains of Industry we expect probity and leadership.

I invariably upgraded myself to 1st Class rail travel at my own expense when the rules were duplicitous - I could travel 1st if with a sqn ldr, or in uniform and seen to be an officer, or with 'men' when again I would be known to be an officer. Naturally I didn't claim the excess.
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Old 15th Nov 2013, 10:39
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PN you speak wisely as always, but my points are simple...

Expenditure claims are binary. They are either legal or fraudulent. End of.

Servicemen and women are the last people on earth to criticise anybody for maximising their expenses.

Aside from hyprocrisy, it grips my Sh1t when I see supposedly intelligent and educated people falling sucker to media bilge, such as this opportunistic trivial [email protected]

PS I was part of the burial party of a WW2 bomber pilot located and laid to rest in Denmark. I seem to recall 2 hours of solemn duty and 46 hours of wild partying...all at lizzie's expense. I'm struggling to see how that was wrong

Last edited by The Old Fat One; 15th Nov 2013 at 14:03.
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Old 15th Nov 2013, 16:01
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TOFO,

Speak for yourself. My claims are/were all legal, indeed I probably claimed less than I was entitled to over my RAF career.

Maybe I'm a mug, or too honest - submitting a fraudulent claim wouldn't have felt right, to say nothing of risking potentially losing a long term career and pension for the sake of gaining a few pounds you weren't entitled to.

With regard to this subject there is one thing that really hacks me off. If anyone in the military submits a false travel claim, they will be subject to disciplinary measures which are likely to include dismissal from the services. If an MP is caught submitting a false claim (e.g. Blunkett claiming for his lover, the latest MP claiming the electric bill for his stables, etc, etc.....), the usual response is:

"....I'm terribly sorry, I'll repay the money....."

At which point the matter is normally closed (they may have to apologise to "the House", as Nadine Dorries has just had to do - some sanction that!!).

I know some MPs have been tried in civil courts for fraud, but it was tip of the iceberg stuff. Perhaps if the sanctions for false claims for MPs were stronger then there would be less of them in the first place?
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Old 15th Nov 2013, 16:29
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Thank goodness TOFO chipped in as I thought I was having to realign my moral compass. The seven quid is an interesting benchmark - what if it had cost 250 to get there, would the vitriol pointed in the MP's direction still have been justified? How much out of pocket should someone have to stump up out of moral obligation?


When I volunteered for RIAT I did not enter travel claims as the reimbursement was met directly from RAFCTE funds, which subsequently impacts the amount of money available for the charity output. However, if attending ANY event as a direct Service order then I view it as a legitimate business expense and my claim is in on JPA. Funnily enough, several VSOs who 'gave their time' to RIAT/RAFCTE certainly made their travel claims, despite knowing the direct impact to RAFCTE funds.


H
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Old 15th Nov 2013, 16:50
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Biggus I am with you on this one, claim everything you are entitled to because if you don't they will reduce the claims budget next year. Also why should one be out of pocket when out of duty.

As for JPA the biggest problem in my experience is the auditors who struggle with basic English when reading the rules.
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Old 15th Nov 2013, 17:07
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Some years ago, as a Detcom, I had to take a small party of airmen and SNCOs from Brize to a secret Lincs base. We were carrying classified equipment and docs and were ordered to use first class travel. This included a taxi between stations in London.

I didn't have any difficulty with the arrangement, and neither did the lads in the party.

There was no difficulty with Accts when we put in our claims.

Do you think this was wrong?
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Old 15th Nov 2013, 17:16
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Herc,

Thank goodness TOFO chipped in as I thought I was having to realign my moral compass. The seven quid is an interesting benchmark - what if it had cost 250 to get there, would the vitriol pointed in the MP's direction still have been justified? How much out of pocket should someone have to stump up out of moral obligation?
I think that when you take public office, you do so with a sense of responsibility and commitment that goes beyond the bottom line always being the bottom line. I agree with you that the line must be drawn somewhere. So yes, if you go to one event then (imo) you suck it up, but if you're a few hundred quid out of pocket I don't see anything wrong in suggesting that the public also chips in to getting you there; after all, you are there too, to represent the public.

But this guy claimed for a poppy for god's sake. How grubby is that? And just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. After all, he wears it in his day to day life and infront of strangers, and surely he does so because he wants us to believe he believes in what he's wearing. But if he claims it, he is doing so because he believes he has to and that reduces (imo) his level of commitment and certainly, his sense of integrity.

Hang on, we're talking about legislators - what am I on about, 'integrity'?
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Old 15th Nov 2013, 17:36
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Speak for yourself. My claims are/were all legal, indeed I probably claimed less than I was entitled to over my RAF career.
Biggus, you've misread it. Every claim I ever made was whiter than snow...to the point where I had every single claim I ever made checked in SHQ (loads of people did this) to make sure I never made a screw up by accident. I carried that habit into civvy street as well.

It's simple...claim all of what you are entitled to and be happy to do so. Claim something you are not entitled to and get prosecuted for fraud/theft (then get fired or worse).

Random moral judgements on what is and is not claimable is nonsense and coming from a body of people that would do anything for a free lunch is rank hyprocrisy.

Anybody who can't see that for themselves must have a major blind spot in their self-awareness.

If it weren't for several hundred delayed flight meals (not to mention in-flight rations....for the simulator!) I'd be signing myself, The Old Thin One.

/thread

PS

But this guy claimed for a poppy for god's sake.
Not according to the linked article, it was for petrol money. I really don't give a monkeys about the detail, but I would surprised if claiming for a poppy was valid, and yes it would be monumentally stupid anyway. But again...it's media driven trivia!
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