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Ex-Hunters boss claims taxpayers’ money for accommodation as MP

Kevin Hollinrake, who until recently was the chairman of Hunters, has been named in an article about Tory MPs who have buy to let portfolios yet still claim public handouts for accommodation.

Hollinrake has been Conservative MP for Thirsk and Malton since 2015, and was simultaneously chairman of Hunters until its acquisition by The Property Franchise Group last month.

The Observer says he was one of 42 Conservative MPs who claimed their rent on expenses while at the same time letting out properties for at least £10,000 a year. The newspaper has analysed only the April to November 2020 period.


In that time Hollinrake claimed £2,925 from the taxpayer for each month from April to November while owning a share of five different rental properties in York.

Hollinrake was the only MP to respond to a request for comment from the newspaper. 

He is quoted as saying: “It is true I own properties other than my constituency home but they are not in or near London so I cannot make use of them for parliamentary purposes.

“When I was elected to Parliament in 2015, I knew it would mean a substantial reduction in earnings compared with my earnings in the private sector, which I was more than willing to accept to have the chance to try and make a difference to people’s lives. 

“I do not consider it reasonable to have to pay my own accommodation expenses in London in addition to other costs incurred while living away from home in order to fulfil my role as a parliamentarian.”

The newspaper says that between April and November 2020 – the most recent month for which figures have been published – Conservative MPs claimed almost £3m in housing rent on expenses.

This is not the first time that Hollinrake has been in the news over taxpayers’ money.

In March 2020 he tweeted about the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan. He wrote:“No personal guarantees, no fees, 0 per cent interest for 12m, up to £5m. Our business will certainly use this.” 

However the Whitby Gazette reported at the time that an independent local councillor said she was appalled his company was benefitting from the scheme when so many in the area were allegedly not receiving the help they needed.

Councillor Michelle Donohue-Moncrieff was quoted as saying: ”My main concern is lots of people who live in Hummanby and Filey are self-employed or are on zero-hours contracts because they do seasonal work. They're not getting enough support. He's a millionaire, he doesn't need any help.”

You can see The Observer article here.

  • Algarve  Investor

    Fair play to him for responding, but not sure he has much of a leg to stand on here, given his well-known wealth.

    I get that none of his rental properties were in London, but between April and November 2020 how many trips was he taking to Westminster given the pandemic regulations and various lockdowns? Was it really necessary for him to come down from Yorkshire? Was he spending each month in London? If not, why was he claiming nearly £3,000 from the taxpayer each month? Is that proportionate or justified?

    You could get a rental property/Airbnb in London for cheaper than that, even in Central London.

    Plus, with the money he will made from the Hunters merger, I'm sure he could pay back all this money claimed on rental expenses.


    Was he on the list for MP's who were on-line only? If yes then why claim for housing which he could not use? If no then is that a terminoligical inexactitude?

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    MPS expenses are not means tested - he is entitled to accommodation in London so what's the problem?

    Algarve  Investor

    The £3,000 he claimed each month? What on earth is that for? Even in and around plush Westminster, I'm sure you can find somewhere that doesn't charge £3,000 a month. And I fail to see how he could have there every month from April to November given the pandemic.

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    • S S
    • 12 April 2021 13:36 PM

    Given the reduced sitting and the likelihood this will continue, hotels such as Travel lodge which is clean, secure and well located would probably cost the taxpayer a lot less (and if he choses to stay in a higher standard then he should fund that personally. The expenses claimed should be for a basic single room. The accommodation is not intended to be a "second" home. - If he rents accommodation in London, if that accommodation is used for any other reason than for attending Parliament or if anyone other than him stays in it, then surely there should be a claw-back for the taxpayer.

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    All these mps could and should use much cheaper alternatives (eg budget hotels like travel
    Lodge). I can’t see how it’s cost effective to pay rent on a property that’s only used part time.

    However, I’m
    assuming that if they’re renting they’ve signed an AST! That being the case, even during lockdown they’re still committed to paying their rent whether they were able to use it or not.


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