£500,000 . . . how much you paid for our MPs last year
TAXPAYERS stumped up nearly £500,000 last year to cover the costs of MPs in the area.
Details of the total business costs and expenses of Westminster politicians for 2011/12 have been published in an annual summary by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa).
This includes the bill for staffing, running of constituency offices, and general administration such as office equipment and stationary.
Figures are also published for parliamentary expenses on accommodation for living in London during the week, and travel and subsistence costs.
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Total spending by MPs, who receive a basic salary of £65,738, in the financial year 2011/12 came to £490,595.88.
Of this £356,698.62 was on staff costs which are paid centrally.
The annual spend for each MP covering constituency and staffing costs, and parliamentary expenses, including accommodation and travel, came to:
James Gray (Con / North Wiltshire) - £159,552.37
Don Foster (Lib Dem / Bath) - £154,411.04
Duncan Hames (Lib Dem / Chippenham) – £148,840.17
Jacob Rees-Mogg (Con / North East Somerset) - £89,787.95
Dr Andrew Murrison (Con / South West Wiltshire) - £86,844.52
Sir Ian Kennedy, chairman of IPSA, explaining the annual publication of MPs spending, said: “You can see how much is spent on staff, on renting offices, on travel and so on. And you can also see if an MP employs a family member of other ‘connected party’.
“In short, we are delivering genuine openness – the kind of which was inconceivable just a few years ago.”
The expenses scandal had now been left behind he insisted.
Sir Ian said: “We have overhauled the system and the expenses scandal is clearly history.”
MPs were also keeping to the rules.
“So it isn’t just us doing our job – MPs are behaving responsibly and claiming within the rules,” he said.
He added: “There will be some who might say ‘this is too much ‘or ‘I could do it for less’. But we should look at the issue in more depth. MPs are there to represent us. If we want to be able to see our MP, contact their staff – and it is in on MPs’ staff where most of this expense goes, visit MPs’ offices, have them write to us, represent us in Parliament, and help us with problems in the constituency, we have to face the fact that there is a cost to doing so. If we want a good service from our MPs, we have to fund them.
“What we now have are clear, fair rules setting out what MPs can claim, with an independent regulator to govern the system, and transparency so we can all see where our money goes.”