Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Uppal to his old tricks

Our reclusive multimillionaire MP Paul Uppal is using Parliament - again - as a means to fatten his bank account once more.

You can pretty much predict, as soon as his name turns up on a 'written question' (which costs the taxpayer several hundred pounds to research) that it's going to be related to his private business interests, however thinly disguised.

So what is it this week?

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will reinstate business rate relief for empty properties by 2015.

Right. Well done Paul. In the midst of the deepest recession since the 1930s, one your Tory Scum party is dealing with by giving the banks £19bn and taking it directly from the poor, your primary interest is in letting commercial property owners off some of their taxes. Why, Paul, why?

Oh. I know this one. It's because you own several million pounds worth of empty commercial property, isn't it Paul? It is. Would the public benefit? No. Not in any way at all.

Thankfully, even the Tory minister recognises this as a greedy bit of self-interest, and points out that property developers and landlords would benefit to the tune of £950 million: not to be sneezed at. Why, it's only £550 million less than government adviser Philip Green paid his Monaco-dwelling wife, thus avoiding tax.

Still, Paul's nothing if not persistent. He disguises his innate selfishness with a reference to The Dark Place, but we know where his heart is. Next to his wallet.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what effect on levels of revenue the removal of business rate relief on (a) industrial property, (b) retail property, (c) commercial property and (d) office accommodation has had in respect of Wolverhampton.
What's he getting at? He's trying to suggest that property owners (did you know he's one of them?) are suffering terribly because they have to pay a little bit of tax. I'm sure that, like me, you immediately think of this afflicted, much misunderstood group of people when you ponder the terrible effects of the recession on this country.

As usual, Uppal's questions are pointless: the information he seeks is available publicly at no cost, or doesn't relate to parliamentary constituencies (and the minister brushes him off with considerable contempt). He knows this: but he also knows that he has to look busy to stand any chance of re-election.

In that vein, he poses another question:

(1) what assistance his Department has provided to residents of Wolverhampton South West constituency who have been made redundant in the last 12 months;
(2) what steps his Department is taking to assist residents in Wolverhampton South West constituency who are in receipt of jobseeker's allowance to secure employment.

Er… couldn't he just visit or phone a Jobcentre to ask how it works? Obviously that would be free and wouldn't get his name in print…

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