Tory MP earns £85k from an armed forces charity yet voted to cut support for soldiers’ bereaved families

Johnny Mercer and handful of £50 notes
Fréa Lockley

Conservative Johnny Mercer earns an additional £85,000 on top of his £79,468 MP salary. But the ex-soldier’s additional income poses serious questions about his voting record.

Questions

In the recorded register of MPs’ interests, Mercer says his additional income is as a non-executive director of Crucial Academy Ltd. He earns £85,000 a year for 20 hours’ work each month. According to the BBC, Crucial Academy is a “company ultimately funded by Surge Financial Limited”. Surge reportedly sold bonds for a company called London Capital and Finance (LCF), which is now in administration.

Mercer has since denied any knowledge of these links, saying he’s “never heard of, never met, or never had anything to do with” LCF. He insists that his work with Crucial Academy is to help train military veterans so they can gain new employment. He also dismissed any other allegations as “smears”.

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But as one tweet revealed, Mercer’s support for armed forces families is not all it seems:

And it turns out that, in March 2017, Mercer did indeed vote for changes that cut support for bereaved families. As the MP for Plymouth Moor View, Mercer’s constituency is home to many armed forces families. Should those families suffer bereavement, his vote has significant implications.

Grieving families

Following the vote, changes to Bereavement Support Payment Regulations significantly reduced help available to bereaved families and partners. Despite more than 4,000 letters of objection, the new system could mean widowed parents and families losing out on up to £12,000 a year.

Under the old system, if a spouse or partner died, families could claim a tax-free £2,000 Bereavement Payment. As the Mirror reported, those with children could also apply for the Widowed Parent’s Allowance, “a taxable benefit of up to £487.71 a month (£5,852 a year)”. This was payable for up to 20 years. The new scheme means that, despite an increased tax-free payment, parents only receive help for 18 months. Unmarried parents receive nothing.

Compassion?

Mercer voted for these changes and blocked someone who dared to question him. Perhaps it’s no surprise since Mercer’s voting record shows he’s consistently voted for welfare and benefit cuts. He’s also blocked moves to help people unable to work as a result of illness or disability.

Mercer is no stranger to controversy. In November 2018, he claimed there’s “nothing wrong” with killing people if it’s to defend “what you believe in”. Perhaps he forgot that this stance only creates more widowed families and more veterans who need support.

Following the BBC report, there are calls for Mercer to resign. Although given his denial this seems highly unlikely. His alleged compassion to help war veterans is flimsy, at best.

Featured images via Wikimedia – UK Parliament / Flickr – Images Money

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    1. Tory MP earns £85k from an armed forces charity yet voted to cut support for soldiers’ bereaved families—Conservative Johnny Mercer earns an additional £85,000 on top of his £79,468 MP salary. But the ex-soldier’s additional income poses serious questions about his voting record.
      Well he is a Tory rich party memebr that changes the rule to benefit the rich party member getting more cash out of us taxpayer in wages + claims they make.
      They is a way armed forces personal suffering under Tory vote by Tory M.P.
      over cash funding cuts. In May 2019 local election armed-fores personal show your discontent to Tory Govt M.P. DO NOT VOTE for any Tory Cllr in your areas up & down the country this will get their attention losing their campaign helper at local level when needed in G.E. or By election held.
      ( this could also result in M.P. losing their jobs has well)
      SHOW you discontent in May 2019 election armed forces personal + voter .

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