Minister under fire over £6,000 home repairs

Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth claimed nearly £6,000 for refurbishments

Bob Ainsworth, the Armed Forces Minister, has become the latest minister to be caught up in the expenses scandal after it was revealed he claimed nearly £6,000 for the refurbishment of his second home.

Today’s Daily Telegraph reports that Ainsworth, the MP for Coventry North East, also attempted to claim £1,000 for an LCD Samsung television and £2,225 for a sofa. However, both were rejected by the fees office as greater than the “recommended maximum”.

The redecoration of Ainsworth’s second home included supplying and fitting oak beams to the ceiling and rebuilding the fireplace.

He also submitted claims for £5,000 worth of fencing, £1,160 for a gas fire and £2,000 to re-point part of the property.

Last night, Ainsworth insisted that he acted within the “spirit and the letter” of the expenses rules.

He said his £5,925 bill had saved taxpayers money as he claimed only for repairs and paid for improvements out of his own pocket.

“I claimed some of this amount for repair and redecoration work,” he said.

“The repair work included: refitting a damp floor; the removal of a dangerous chimney and corroding pipe work; rewiring unsafe electrical cables; and the redecoration of two rooms, the study and lounge. As permitted by the rules.

“I paid for the work which covered the improvements made to my home. I paid this money because under the rules I did not believe that I was entitled to claim for improvements.”

Ainsworth added that he accepted his claims for a television and a sofa were excessive and that the system needed radical reform.

“Along with most of my colleagues, I recognise that the allowance system for MPs is now completely discredited and needs to be swiftly replaced,” he said.