While the coalition starts taking an axe to universal benefits that go to the needy and well off alike, it's good to see Lord Scandelson making sure he gets what's rightfully his, albeit from the EU this time.
Ex EU commissioners can claim a "transition allowance" that is intended to make up for the sudden loss of earnings once they leave post. Fair enough, you probably aren't thinking, but God knows, most of them are fairly unemployable in any normal job (Neil Kinnock was one, for example).
It should come as no surprise that the ex-trade commissioner, Mandelson, is making sure he squeezes every last drop of sauce out of the European high greed gravy train. From the Sunday Times...
Lord Mandelson has channelled fees and royalties from his autobiography into a private company, enabling him to qualify for up to half his former salary as a European commissioner two years after leaving the job.
His book royalties and speaking engagement fees (estimated at £350,000) are paid to Willbury, his firm. This enables him to claim up to £104,000 a year, intended to cushion former commissioners while they look for new work.
This “transitional allowance” is withdrawn if yearly earnings exceed £208,000. The commission must be informed of new activities generating personal income, including the publication of books.
Mandelson is thought to have earned £350,000 from his book, The Third Man, yet is still entitled to the allowance until October 2011. By paying his earnings into a company of which he is a director, he can tell Brussels he has no other private income.