LEIGH MP Andy Burnham has hit back following revelations he leases out his London flat while claiming taxpayers’ cash to rent a separate property in the capital.
A national newspaper named the shadow health secretary among 27 MPs who lease out property they own in the capital while also claiming parliamentary allowances to rent a separate home.
Mr Burnham, pictured, said he decided to lease out his flat because he could no longer afford to pay the mortgage after MPs were banned from claiming back the cost of mortgage interest in 2010 in the wake of the expenses scandal.
He told the Journal: “In 2006, I bought a flat in Kennington, taking out a second mortgage.
“This enabled me to move out of a rented flat and reduce my accommodation claims by around £400 per month.
“Under this arrangement, I paid the monthly mortgage repayments but could make a claim for the mortgage interest.
“After the 2010 election, IPSA changed the rules to stop MPs claiming for mortgage interest. I wanted to stay at my flat but I could no longer afford to do so and was forced to leave by August 2012.
“I decided to stay at my flat for as long as I possibly could, not least to minimise my expenses claims.
“In June this year, I moved to an unfurnished, rented flat in Kennington. I now claim accommodation expenses on this new property alone. I make no claim in respect of the old flat.
“However, all this has left me in the unusual situation of having a flat in London on which I have a mortgage to pay but where I am unable to live. I don’t want to sell it so have had to rent it out.
“The rent I receive covers the mortgage, the agents’ management fee and on-going maintenance costs.
“I do not rent to, or from, another Member of Parliament.
“IPSA is right to prevent MPs making capital gains on properties with the help of the taxpayer. I support rules to stop this.
“However, I believe they could have been introduced without asking MPs to move to more expensive rented accommodation.
“If the rules changed again to reflect this, I would then move back to my old flat at the earliest opportunity.”