I see that two Assembly Members (who are married to each other) have made a name for themselves by pledging to repay to the National Assembly any profits that they make on their 'second' home in Cardiff. Mandrake in the Telegraph has swallowed the bait, and reported this as a great public spirited gesture. If I didn't go in for gesture politics, I would make the same pledge myself. It wouldn't cost me anything at all. I bought my second home in Cardiff Bay in 1999 and when I conclude that my political career is over, I will sell it at a profit of £0. In fact by any reasonable method of interpreting the P and L account, I'll have made a loss.
In 1999 I bought a property in Adventure's Quay, mainly because it was so convenient to my office, that I wouldn't have to equip my flat with telephone/computer etc. I sold it in 2005, at a 'profit' of around £25,000, having spent quite a bit of my own money improving it. I suspect when allowing for the loss in purchasing power of the purchase price, I would probably have made a loss. I moved to a flat in Century Wharf, because I liked it more. It was more expensive and meant that the 'second home' allowance did not remotely cover the costs, which I paid for myself. No complaints. My choice. If I were to sell it now, I would probably lose about £30,000. Again, no complaints. I believe in the market, and live by it.
Two relevant comments on this. Firstly, it does stick in the craw when commentators accuse me of making a profit out of my Cardiff flat at the taxpayer's expense - as Rhyn ap Iorwerth did on Radio Wales this morning. And secondly, I could make the same grand gesture that Huw Lewis and Lynne Neagle have made, and it wouldn't cost me a penny. This is just me thinking aloud.