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Expenses row MSP to return family firm cash

By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West
Expenses row MSP to return family firm cash

AN MSP embroiled in an expenses row after employing his own company has pledged to pay back the £1200 sum.

Conservative MSP for Galloway and West Dumfries Finlay Carson is now looking to return the money he paid for the creaton of a website to a company where he is a controlling shareholder with his brother.
In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Carson said: “I’ve decided the best thing to do is to return all the money claimed for the website.”
He added: “I’d like to make it clear that I didn’t benefit financially from this arrangement. I employed the firm in good faith in the belief it provided good value. On reflection, however, it’s clear I shouldn’t have done so.”
In March the Conservative MSP for Galloway and West Dumfries made a claim for costs involved in constructing his website.
However, Mr Carson is a director of CMS Broadband Ltd, and is a controlling shareholder of the firm together with his brother, John Carson.
Holyrood’s expenses rules state that ‘a member shall ensure that any claim is submitted solely in respect of the performance of parliamentary duties and is not submitted in order to gain financial or other benefit for the member or any other person’.
After facing criticism over the situation, on Wednesday Mr Carson issued a statement revealing he planned to pay back the cash – with a spokesman stating the MSP intends to pay it back personally.
And he said: “My focus now is as where it always has been – on speaking up for my constituents in Dumfries and Galloway and making sure the south-west gets a hearing at Holyrood.”
But remaining critical of the situation, SNP MSP Emma Harper said: “It beggars belief that Mr Carson could ever have believed handing a four figure sum of public money to a company belonging to him and his brother was acceptable in the first instance.
“MSPs are quite rightly barred from claiming expenses in order to gain financial benefit.”
She added: “There are strict parliamentary codes of practice and Mr Carson’s actions will now need to be judged by the relevant authorities on these matters.”

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