Scottish Finance Secretary makes a profit at taxpayers' expense

August 19, 2011 10:30 AM

John Swinney, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth in the Scottish Government, has made a large profit on his taxpayer-funded apartment. The two-storey terraced property was recently sold for £430,000, after being bought for £355,000 in December 2003, while he was Leader of the Scottish National Party. After capital gains tax, his total profit was around £57,000.

But between the purchase and the sale, Swinney claimed more than £60,000 of taxpayers' money to pay for the interest on his RBS mortgage. Right now, Mr Swinney is overseeing the implication of necessary spending cuts and a public sector pay freeze, but saw no problem in claiming this huge sum of money from taxpayers.

Let us not forget that Mr Swinney already earns a six-figure taxpayer-funded salary, which only serves as another kick in the teeth for hard-working families. The TaxPayers’ Alliance has previously condemned the way politicians are able to make a profit from taxpayer-funded homes; it is a scandal how they can enjoy personal gain from property paid for by ordinary families. If one of Mr Swinney’s constituents was to try something in their place of work with their employer’s money, does anyone really think they’d be able to get away with it?

Last month, I wrote about how some MPs in Westminster were opposed to having to explain their expense claims. Now it appears that in Holyrood, John Swinney may have some explaining to do himself, not least because of the irony of his position as Finance Secretary. He’s made a handsome profit from the taxpayers who are finding it hard enough as it is.John Swinney, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Employment and Sustainable Growth in the Scottish Government, has made a large profit on his taxpayer-funded apartment. The two-storey terraced property was recently sold for £430,000, after being bought for £355,000 in December 2003, while he was Leader of the Scottish National Party. After capital gains tax, his total profit was around £57,000.

But between the purchase and the sale, Swinney claimed more than £60,000 of taxpayers' money to pay for the interest on his RBS mortgage. Right now, Mr Swinney is overseeing the implication of necessary spending cuts and a public sector pay freeze, but saw no problem in claiming this huge sum of money from taxpayers.

Let us not forget that Mr Swinney already earns a six-figure taxpayer-funded salary, which only serves as another kick in the teeth for hard-working families. The TaxPayers’ Alliance has previously condemned the way politicians are able to make a profit from taxpayer-funded homes; it is a scandal how they can enjoy personal gain from property paid for by ordinary families. If one of Mr Swinney’s constituents was to try something in their place of work with their employer’s money, does anyone really think they’d be able to get away with it?

Last month, I wrote about how some MPs in Westminster were opposed to having to explain their expense claims. Now it appears that in Holyrood, John Swinney may have some explaining to do himself, not least because of the irony of his position as Finance Secretary. He’s made a handsome profit from the taxpayers who are finding it hard enough as it is.

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