London, May 26 : Former British PM Tony Blair has been accused of 'playing the system' to build his property empire after it was revealed that he used his MPs' expenses to claim a 300,000 pounds mortgage.
Blair and his wife Cherie were 297,000 pounds his constituency home in Trimdon, County Durham - even though at 150,000 pounds, it was about half the amount.
Blair then claimed part of the repayments back under the Additional Costs Allowance, which helps MPs get a second home, show figures released under the Freedom Of Information Act.
"The fact the Blairs appear to have been playing the system to build their empire will sum up all of those things that concern the public about MPs' expenses," the Daily Star quoted Mark Wallace, from the Taxpayers' Alliance, as saying.
"The taxpaying public provides these allowances for MPs to do their jobs, not to stand as collateral for building up the Blairs' personal wealth."
The figures also showed that Blair had claimed 10,600 pounds to fit a kitchen, 515.75 pounds for a dishwasher, 112.26 pounds to have his rubbish removed and 933.99 pounds for a gas bill.
A spokesman for Mr Blair said: "It's a matter for the building society how much money it is prepared to loan.
"Mr Blair only claimed the value of the old mortgage [90,000] even though he was entitled to claim for the costs of the new mortgage."