Accountant warns on expenses

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South west business owners have been urged to check their expenses policies and costs, following revelations about MPs’ allowances.

Recent headlines have revealed that former Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, had built a property empire worth £1.7 million after “flipping” his allowances between various taxpayer-funded properties, while research has also shown than 20% of employee travel and expense claims are illegitimate.

Accountancy firm Bishop Fleming has issued guide-notes to owner-managed businesses, aimed at minimising the risk of inflated or false expense claims.

According to managing partner Matthew Lee: “Parliament, and many public sector bodies, have made the mistake of creating a culture of ‘allowances’, whereby MPs and staff are encouraged to claim those allowances, rather than focus on the true expenses they have incurred in doing their job.

“Parliament and the public sector should abandon their long-established formula of paying a pre-determined allowance for travel, accommodation, and subsistence. And private businesses should avoid that formula like the plague,” said Lee.