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Nice to see someone fighting back against the spin


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It is from the "Mail" so a pinch of salt may be required - but if true then this is an interesting development.



Anatomy of a smear: how General Dannatt claimed £19, 291.. and Bob Ainsworth claimed £394, 306By Christopher Leake


Last updated at 11:52 PM on 22nd August 2009


The head of the Army has prompted a fresh row with Labour after details of his expenses claims were released showing they were a fraction of the amount spent by Defence Ministers.


The move came after senior Labour figures were accused of smearing the outgoing Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt, by organising a series of Freedom of Information requests about his expenses designed to embarrass him days before he steps down on Friday.


Last week, there were claims that Ministers were behind the FOI requests, but it was unclear last night who had submitted the questions and the Ministry of Defence refused to disclose their identities.

Fighting back: General Dannatt was said to be 'sick of the innuendo' about his expenses and wanted the truth revealed

Last week, Defence Minister Kevan Jones was forced to deny that he had orchestrated the FOI requests.


There have also been claims that one Minister had called General Dannatt a 'c***' and a 'complete b******' after he requested more troops and better equipment to support troops fighting the war in Afghanistan.


General Dannatt claimed a total of £19,291 between April 1, 2005, and March 31 this year in his previous post of Commander-in-Chief Land Forces and his current role as head of the Army.


The claims were described by senior defence sources as 'entirely reasonable' and in line with his duties as a military ambassador both within this country and to meet British and foreign dignitaries.

MoD aides were at pains to stress that Sir Richard had personally sanctioned the release of the figures.


By comparison, Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth claimed £394,306 in Commons expenses from 2005 to 2008, the latest year for which figures are available.


The payments covered travel, staff expenses, computer equipment, stationery and a second-home allowance.


The claims, made while Mr Ainsworth was Armed Forces Minister, included nearly £6,000 for work on his second home, including the fitting of oak beams and pine doors, plus a £1,000 TV set, a £2,225 sofa and £2,000 to repoint part of the property.


Kevan Jones claimed Commons expenses totalling £454,324 from 2005 to 2008. His claims included a £23,083 allowance for a second home, £1,913 for carpeting but just £33 for cleaning and laundry.


The figures for Gen Dannatt's expenses - released to this newspaper by the Ministry of Defence --show that in 2005-06 he was reimbursed a total of £4,910.86 in expenses.


Then, from April to August 2006, he was repaid £2,892.97.


The figure from August 2006 to March 2007 was £1,058.76.


In 2007-08 it was £5,720.09, plus €100 (not included in the total) and in 2008-09 the total was £4,708.09.


The expenses were for formal dinners, suppers and informal entertaining for UK and foreign officials, including Army chiefs from Germany, Pakistan and the Netherlands.


The biggest claim was £1,540.91 for a supper reception for 110 people on July 7, 2005, to promote 'unit cohesiveness'. That amounts to a mere £14 a head.


The second highest was £1,320.81 four days earlier for a barbecue reception for 120 people, or £11 a head, in honour of a visit by the Commanderin-Chief of the German Army. Both these events were when Sir Richard was in charge of the Land Army and before he took over as Britain's most senior soldier.


The General's expenses exclude the grace-and-favour apartment with which he is provided at taxpayers' expense in a former stable block at Kensington Palace.


He pays tax on the perk because it is regarded as a benefit in kind. Sir Richard also owns his own home in East Anglia.


A source close to Gen Dannatt said last night: 'He is sick about the innuendo of recent weeks suggesting that he has enjoyed lavish expenses and entertaining.


'So he decided to prove that the truth reveals a far different story.'


An MoD spokesman said last night: 'As head of the Army, the Chief of the General Staff undertakes official hosting and entertaining of both overseas and United Kingdom dignitaries.


'This is an important part of his remit to assist in the betterment of international relations, to promote the British Army and facilitate a wider public understanding of its role.'




Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1208413/Anatomy-smear-General-Dannatt-claimed-19-291--Bob-Ainsworth-claimed-394-306.html#ixzz0OzglNPDv


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