Do you fall behind with the gas and lecky?Forget to pay your TV licence and struggle to pay charges? Well spare a thought for poor struggling millionaire Francis Maude who just can’t seem to get his act together when it comes to paying his bills.
The man was rightly castigated last week over his ill-judged and downright dangerous public advice to stockpile jerry cans. But there is another side to his character which is equally surprising – his record for paying bills on time.
Hidden on the Parliamentary website following the great expenses scandal is an extraordinary documentation of the time when he owned a flat in Imperial Court in Kennington, south London between 2007 and 2009. ( anoraks can peruse all Francis Maude’s bills at http://bit.ly/Hbu1Vo )
At the time he was severely criticised by the Daily Telegraph ( see http://tgr.ph/HkjDGC ) for purchasing the flat for £430,000- with a £345,000 mortgage- and claiming all the interest when he owned a house outright in Denny Crescent nearby. As a previous blog disclosed he also got a mortgage on this house and let it out to Tory special advisers – Maude’s madrassa – as it became known.
What the documents also reveal is an amazing lax attitude to paying his gas, electricity and telephone bills and service charges. Not just the delays in paying out the cash but being threatened with disconnection and legal action for non-payment.
In August 2007 he was threatened with a termination notice for not paying a £36 telephone bill.
At the beginning of 2009 he received a letter from Kevin Roxburgh, head of energy debt collections, at British Gas because he hadn’t paid his £188.24 gas bill for over a month. The letter asks whether he has payment difficulties and tells him about direct debit.
EDF his electricity supplier also suggests he might like to pay by direct debit because of his overdue payments.
Finally he is threatened with legal action for an overdue bill of over £2600 from his landlords. They write to him warning that his long delay has already led to administration charge of £29.37.
The letter warns:” We request that you settle the amount outstanding within 14 days of the date of this reminder in order to avoid incurring additional costs or further legal action.”
The irony about this is that all his bills were being paid anyway by the taxpayer – he didn’t have to pay a penny as he could claim them back through his Parliamentary expenses.
Yet somehow he couldn’t get his act together to send them a cheque. Finally the records show that he learns there is something easier called direct debit – and two years after moving into the flat actually sets up direct debit payments for his TV licence and utility bills. This man is supposed to be a world-class banker -the ex md of Morgan Stanley. And he is charge of getting more efficiency in business payments to the government. God help us.