Monday, 19 April 2010

Bailey: Questions about missing receipts

Several of you have pointed out that The Times newspaper this week-end published a report which on the face of it raises questions about the financial management of a charity which is run by the Conservative candidate for our area at the General Election.

The article alleges that an independent examiner has found £15,952 of unaccounted for expenses in the charity's accounts, and that the Charities Commission is considering a formal investigation into the money which was made in payments "without any supporting records."

Shaun Bailey, explaining the missing money, puts it down to simple mistakes. He says: "We had a little panic, we have the stuff . What you are dealing with is a kid from the estate who had a good idea to do this and and never had a wider view of accountants and lawyers. We have raised this money, spent it on the kids. We just didn't know."

It's not clear what 'stuff' he is talking about but I assume the 'kid from the estate' he refers to is himself, and we've all made mistakes in our lives. But as some of you have already pointed out this is the same Shaun Bailey who has spent the last couple of months using his very well funded campaign to attack Labour candidate Andy Slaughter for spending £90 on a pen nib and billing the tax-payer.

Speaking to me earlier today Shaun said this: "MyGeneration is a small charity that has experienced rapid growth. At the time we had a full time staff of only two people responsible for all of the charity's projects and administration. Like many small charitiesand voluntary organisations, it took us some time to develop the administrative processes".

"It is only my political opponents who have tried to bring the charitable work done by MyGeneration into dispute. This is the second time Labour have tried to smear me by attacking the charity with no regard for the work it does with the hundreds of youth and families it supports in West London."

I haven't actually seen Labour talk about this at all but people in the Bailey campaign clearly think they're behind the media stories.

I take it at face value that the £16,000 was an administrative cock-up, these things happen all the time. But isn't that what many of the MPs with dodgy expenses claimed at the time? And isn't attacking Andy Slaughter for expenses when the worst thing they could dredge up was a £90 pen nib he apparently charged to the public once just a little bit, well, risky in that case?!

Just a prediction but I doubt we'll see much more comment on anyone's expenses from the Conservative campaign from this point on.


  1. In Bailey's own blog post, the very next sentence after he complains about Slaughter's lack of receipts is about his co-founding of MyGeneration:

    "expense records show he claimed between £100 and £250 of petty cash each month - cash given without the need for a receipt. Still, he claims to have some of the cleanest expences in parliament!

    For anyone curious about my CV, let me help. I co-founded and currently work with MyGeneration."

    Co-founded. Does that mean he was one of the "only two full-time staff" - and thus that some of this money was paying him as salary... or expenses?

    He's not being particularly clear about his own role and responsibility for the lack of receipts & accounts, is he?

    Perhaps he could also make clear whether or not he himself received any of this £16,000 that is not properly accounted for.

    Immediate transparency about his personal responsibility for and/or benefits from this money would clear it up quickly. If there's a lesson to be learnt from MPs expenses, it's that.

    Rather than just trying to brush it off by saying that it's a political attack from Labour, which frankly sounds a bit weak.

    ...and also oddly reminiscent of the MPs during the expenses scandal - from a man who has repeatedly claimed to be different from "professional politicians".

  2. Well, I hope he doesn't have "a little panic" if he becomes an MP. And I'm not sure how good he is going to be making decisions on banking reform and economic recovery if he "never had a wider view of accountants and lawyers".

    I thought he was portraying himself as a professional, in his thirties, with experience of running an organisation helping disadvantaged children not "a kid from the estate".

    How much money did he receive personally from the charity?

    If he can't keep track of £16 000 of his own charity's money, does he really expect us to trust him with taxpayers money?