Goodwill told to pay back second home cash

Robert Goodwill MP
Robert Goodwill MP

Scarborough’s MP has been ordered to pay back thousands of pounds by the Parliamentary watchdog in profits made on his taxpayer-funded second home.

Tory whip Robert Goodwill, MP for Scarborough and Whitby, has agreed to pay back almost £5,000 in capital gains on his second home.

He is among a group of almost 30 MPs who will pay back cash, after they continued to claim mortgage interest on their expenses since 2010.

No suggestion has been made that any of the MPs have acted improperly.

However, this is the latest stage of the ongoing clampdown over MPs’ expenses, since the scandal that erupted at Westminster four years ago.

The tough new watchdog, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), banned MPs from using their second home expenses to pay mortgage interest in May 2010, in the wake of public fury over “flipping” and allegations of profiteering.

However, transitional arrangements were put in place permitting MPs to keep claiming the money up to last August – as long as they agreed to return any potential capital gain on their home.

Newly released Ipsa figures showed 71 MPs claimed almost £1m over the 15-month period, but most were not asked to make repayments, because surveyors’ reports showed their properties had not gained in value.

However, 29 were asked to make payments to reflect the increased value of their homes.

Mr Goodwill said that he had always understood any capital gain would need to be repaid, and that he was happy to do so.

Ipsa has begun High Court action against one Tory MP who is refusing to pay up. Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson said he was mounting his own legal challenge in response, accusing Ipsa of over-estimating the value of his home and then rushing into “heavy-handed
and disproportionate” litigation.