A household on £150,000 a year of taxpayers\’ money

Rent free remember:

A Stakhanovite prime minister might have thought the nation would pay for his bacon rolls when he was toiling on its behalf to steady the world\’s economy.

Sarah Brown\’s diary of life in No 10, serialised in the Daily Mail, shows that when her husband was at work, officials asked her to provide breakfast. She refused, saying the prime minister was not technically \”at home\”, and was later bemused to get a bill for 200 breakfasts they had provided.

Also expects you to pay for their bacon butties.

For all the stuff about how travelling salesmen charge their breakfast at the Happy Eater to the company, does grate a bit, doesn\’t it?

15 thoughts on “A household on £150,000 a year of taxpayers\’ money”

  1. “For all the stuff about how travelling salesmen charge their breakfast at the Happy Eater to the company, does grate a bit, doesn’t it?”

    No, not really. If you’re at your desk at 6am, any decent employer would spring for the butty.

    I seem to recall that Yes, Prime Minister had an episode on this very topic, resulting in Jim Hacker arranging for official business dinners every night..

  2. I’m with KT here. It’s no bloody wonder the higher end of the public sector struggles to recruit good people, if “I’m hungry and I’m at work at 6AM” gets met with “well, go and pay for a butty” rather than “groovy, here’s a butty on the company”. And, even more to the point, if suggesting otherwise gets you pilloried.

  3. (note: higher *status*, not higher pay. There’s clearly a racket going on in local councils, where CEOs regularly get paid more than the PM or any of the senior civil service grades, and have cosy business relationships – that reflects the lack of scrutiny, because local papers are desperate PR-reprinting machines with a hack and a half, with only Private Eye actually following up local government dodginess…)

  4. Actually there are long and complex rules from HMRC about these things. They are surprisingly tight fistyd about tax free reimbursement of such expenses. Accordingly, Gordon Brown should feed himself, like the rest of us do.

    Most employers end up making additional tax payments (called PAYE Settlement Agreements) to avoid being in breach of the law and to avoid their staff getting tax code changes to claw back the cash.

    I have often wondered what goes on at the BBC so I am making an FOI enquiry to find out. I will report if and when anything is learned.

  5. No-one ever suggested buying me a bacon roll when I was “at work” in my own home at 6 a.m. Nor did anyone pop into my lab offering free food if I was there until one in the morning. johnb must have been spoiled rotten.

  6. Hold on: I’ve just remembered a spell of working very long hours starting up a petrochemical plant. The company did supply tins of pineapple chunks and the like. That was before the days of acid-free pineapples.

  7. One of my employers allowed us to expense food when we worked odd hours.

    HMRC would class this as benefits-in-kind, which put some of us in a different tax code, and then later refund the money. It was irritating to say the least.

  8. What Andrew said. There is a set amount that a company can spend on its workers and above that it is taxable. So if your company has, say, a Christmas bash, a summer bash and supplies fruit 3 times a week then you are likely to fall foul of the taxman as we did in our last company. Got stung for employers NI as well.

    Having said that, a few pizzas when working late seems ok, or maybe just got missed.

  9. HMRC does permit you to buy your employees breakfast, BUT… wait for it… only if they cycle to work on a *designated* cycle-to-work day. In the tax-man’s mind, presumably, everybody is a commuter who works standard office hours, and might have to miss their natural breakfast time if they don’t take the 8.05 from Cockfosters.

  10. “HMRC would class this as benefits-in-kind, which put some of us in a different tax code, and then later refund the money. It was irritating to say the least.”

    My take on this when buying food for my guys: “Now find the umbrella”.

  11. “Whatever the tax rules, whatever one might think of Brown personally, it’s a crap way to treat people.”

    Well I’ve been president of various organisations with modest allowances for travel and meals, but if my wife were to ask for a meal to be provided she wouldn’t have got one.

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