Austerity doesn’t apply to this Tory minister who charged taxpayers £30k to meet his mistress

Support us and go ad-free

A Conservative minister charged the taxpayer over £30,000 for his stays in a private members club, where he would meet his mistress.

Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow, admitted he was cheating on his partner after it emerged a senior Tory aide intended to blackmail him. A report in the Mail on Sunday states that the aide planned to film him and his lover, a Tory activist, leaving the East India Club.

The minister has a form of celebral palsy, which means he can claim overnight expenses regardless of living a commutable distance from Westminster. Meanwhile, he consistently voted against introducing paying higher benefits for those unable to work because of illness or disability, as calculated by His additional expenses are on top of a £67,000 a year salary.

While sympathy must be expressed for his condition, it’s not quite as cosy for the rest of disabled people. The UK has become the first country to be investigated by the UN for violating the rights of people with disabilities. The inquiry will examine whether the Conservative government has perpetrated “systemic and grave violations”.

The investigation will inspect the impact of removing the Independent Living Fund (ILF), which this Tory minister’s government stripped from severely disabled people. ILF liberates disabled people from being trapped in care homes, through providing assistants and carers. It enables them to get jobs and flourish in their communities.

Local authorities now have the responsibility for this funding, but it is not ring fenced. It is vulnerable under Conservative spending cuts to local councils. To illustrate, a disabled person has lost half his care since ILF was removed earlier this year.

Yet, there’s money for Halfon to charge the public purse for his affairs at an elite club. The latest deficit figures show that government spending continues to increase despite huge cuts to public services and welfare. Scrapping ILF similarly indicates that austerity is ideological rather than a viable economic strategy. ILF empowers disabled people to secure employment, engage in society and manifest their capabilities. It is an investment in people, providing them with a platform to contribute to the economy and their communities. Without it, disabled people may also be pushed back into residential care, which is itself costly.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Case in point: Jenny was an ILF recipient and took full advantage of the freedom it gave her. She became an organisation trustee, achieved three degrees – one a first class in Spanish – and then became a company director.

Cutting the ILF is not only cruel, callous and unnecessary, but also economically illiterate.

It seems disabled people will only be looked after if they are Tory ministers seeking tens of thousands of taxpayers’ money to accommodate trysts. When any other disabled person looks for liberty, dignity and the ability to participate in their communities, not only can they not utilise additional public funds but, under this Tory minister’s government, they are deprived of the support that was available.

Featured image via Roger Blackwell and Twitter.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed