Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard says his fee for consultancy work goes to good causes after he's named on list beside Owen Paterson

Local MP Paul Maynard defended working for a cash machine firm, saying the money he was paid went to two good causes in the resort.

Thursday, 11th November 2021, 3:56 pm

The Conservative politician, who represents Blackpool North and Cleveleys, spoke after being listed as one of 34 MPs being paid for consultancy or advisory work.

They include Owen Paterson, who was found by the Standards Committee to have engaged in ‘egregious’ lobbying on behalf of two companies that paid him a combined total of more than £100,000 per year.

There are no rules against MPs being paid for advising external businesses, provided they record it in their register of interests, but they must not lobby the Government on behalf of those businesses.

Paul Maynard, Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP, said his fee for consultancy work was given to good causes

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According to the register, Mr Maynard was paid £6,250 for 32 hours’ work for Link Scheme, which runs a network of ATMs, with the cash going straight to charity.

He said: “I sit on Link’s consumer council, which holds them to account for the work they do on access to cash, which I have a longstanding policy interest in.

“Link pays the money direct to local charities and I derive no financial benefit myself.

“Diminishing access to cash hits the poorest and most vulnerable here on the Fylde coast, and my role on the council has helped inform my campaign on promoting access to cash and wider financial services, and indeed, other poverty-related issues.”

Spokesmen for the charitable causes confirmed the donations to The Gazette.

Mr Maynard has spoken in Parliament about access to cash – and openly declared his role on Link’s consumer council.

In a debate last month, he was described by Labour MP for Pontypridd, Alex Davies-Jones, as ‘particularly vocal’ in his support for free-to-use cash machines.

And Mr Maynard said the issue ‘has probably been my favourite subject in my time in Parliament’, adding: “[MPs] have described at some length how the use of cash is important to the most vulnerable in our society.”

Mr Paterson, who is employed by diagnostics company Randox and sausage-maker Lynn’s Country Foods, is one of two MPs to be paid more than £100,000 for consultancy or advisory work.

He resigned last week in what he said was a ‘painful decision’.

He added: “I acted at all times in the interests of public health and safety.”

The highest paid is former international development secretary Andrew Mitchell, who receives £182,600 per year for 32.5 days working for firms including investment companies Investec, SouthBridge and Kingsley Capital Partners, along with accountants Ernst & Young and consultants Montrose Associates.

Other MPs paid more than £100,000 per year for consulting work include former cabinet minister Chris Grayling, who is paid £100,000 annually by Hutchison Ports Europe, and Chief Whip Julian Smith, who receives a total of £144,000 per year from three companies.

Mark Garnier, a former international trade minister, earned more than his £81,932 annual parliamentary salary for consultancy work. He is paid £90,000 by two companies in the space sector – Laser Light Communications and Shetland Space Centre.

Some MPs also operate their own consultancy firms. Sir Bob Neill is the sole director of RJMN Ltd, which advanced him an interest-free loan of £68,000 in the 2019/20 financial year, according to its most recent accounts.

Mark Pritchard also owns a consultancy firm, Mark Pritchard Advisory Ltd, which made profits of £27,299 in the 2020/21 financial year and paid dividends of £13,000.

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