Thursday, July 09, 2009

Outside "earnings" update

Following my declaration of the strawberries I must complete the record by stating that I received the following reply from the registrar

The Registrar advises that the charity event does not come into the category of employment. You might only have to register this if anyone sponsored you for more than £650 to take part in the event. I assume this was not the case but please let me know if I am wrong.

I claimed in the first place to clarify the position because some of us had been told that anything we received "payment" for (in spondulicks or in kind) had to be declared. Obviously we don't want to unwittingly fall foul of the rules so these things have to be tested out. So, it does seem sensible to me that charity events are exempt. I have yet to declare the first small token thank you for a constituency related speech but shall keep you posted.

The problem is not the declaration in itself but the fact that unsolicited gifts to the value of £649 do not have to be declared. Surely it is time to lower the limit for this part of the register of interests.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Declarations of interest

Under the rules introduced on 1st July (aiming to provide greater transparency about "outside" work) we have been told that payment in kind also has to be registered - including for when we make speeches etc in the constituency. Some of us thought that such events were not part of the job and not really outside interests but what it has meant is that today I declared the following.

Also am unclear under the new rules whether the following is regarded as “payment in kind” but declaring it does appear to be in the spirit of the new rules.

I was asked to spend some time on the “wencher drencher” for charity. The event – on 5th July - was organised by the Rotary Club of Romsey Test and total work time was approximately 25 minutes. This consisted of 5 minutes to get changed. 15 minutes sitting on the device, waiting for people to hit a target and then getting tipped into water a number of times and 10 minutes drying off and getting changed afterwards. A gentleman presented me with a punnet of strawberries (value £1.50) for my efforts but I am afraid it would have seemed rather rude to ask his full name and address so I didn’t.