Just a trawl through the papers this morning:
From The TImes
Britain’s most parsimonious politician has been revealed as Margo MacDonald, an independent MSP.
As Westminster politicians struggle to explain their expenses, Ms Mac-Donald totted up her quarterly claim for attending the Scottish Parliament and found that she had spent only £32 — making her the lowest claimant of the 129 MSPs at Holyrood.
Ms MacDonald, who served as the Nationalist MP for Glasgow Govan from 1973-74 and represents the Lothians in the Scottish Parliament, billed for only the costs involved in sending her press releases. Ms MacDonald, who has Parkinson’s disease and difficulty walking, also turned down an official car and a driver. Because she sometimes uses a taxi, her expenses bill for the full year has almost reached a heady £2,000.
Ms MacDonald says that she will not tell others how they should run their affairs, although she did offer five top tips for saving money. Politicians could follow her example by making their own office curtains, shopping at supermarkets after 5pm when food is often reduced, and using garden furniture in offices. They could further cut costs by reading newspapers online, rinsing out teabags, and buying the fabric for curtains in the sales.
and this from The Daily Telegraph…
Thousands of dead Australians get $900 stimulus cheques
The Australian government has been forced to defend its economic recovery plan after it emerged that 16,000 dead people had recieved $900 (£450) stimulus payments meant to protect the country against recession.
Kevin Rudd: Mr Rudd has denied his ‘adios’ comment was racist and said Mr Trujillo’s opinions of Australia were ‘ridiculous’ Photo: REUTERS
The bonuses have also been paid to thousands of people living overseas, the government admitted.
The cheques, which started landing in mailboxes in March, were paid out as part of a $52 billion package aimed at boosting the economy and warding off mass unemployment.
The payments were sent out to anyone who had filled in a tax return in Australia last year, resulting in $14 million (£7m) being paid to 16,000 dead citizens and $25 million (£12.5,) to 25,000 going to former residents.
The opposition, and some parts of the media, have seized on the disclosure as evidence of the Labour government’s failure to properly manage the economic downturn.
“Grateful dead get a raise from Kev,” said one headline, referring to Kevin Rudd, the prime minister, who signed off on the scheme.
Opposition MPs have also claimed some stimulus payments have gone to prisoners and pets left with estates after their owners had died.
Malcolm Turnbull, the opposition leader, said the misdirected payments were “an incredible example of the reckless way” Labour was borrowing billions of dollars and “spraying it around”.
But Lindsay Tanner, the finance minister, insisted the money was well spent and would still find its way into the economy.
“Even where they go to people who are dead, of course they go to the estate,” he told local television”.
…and again from The Times…
Not Quite Dead Yet
Francis Rossi, the rock singer, guitarist and co-founder of Status Quo, has been touring the world with the group since 1967. This year there are concerts in Norway, Germany and Glastonbury, and a tour of North America. He has made one concession to his age by cutting off his trademark ponytail: “I decided to forget clinging on to my youth — it was time to grow old gracefully.” Francis Rossi is 60 today.