UK Politics

Bill for MPs' expenses and costs higher than in 2009

Aerial shot of the House of Parliament and Portcullis House Image copyright PA

The taxpayer-funded bill for MPs' expenses and costs is now higher than it was before the 2009 scandal.

Total claims rose by £5m to £103m last year, figures show, compared with the £102m paid out in 2008-9.

Almost four pounds in every five was spent on staff salaries, with a quarter of MPs employing a family member.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) said the system of regulation put in place since 2009 had reduced overall costs by £58m.

It also said figures for the most recent year would not be higher than in 2008-2009 if inflation was taken into account.

Revelations about fraudulent expenses' claims by several MPs led to Parliament being stripped of its responsibility for paying claims in 2010.

Annual figures published by IPSA show that the total cost of MPs' expenses and costs rose by £5m from £98m to £103m in 2013-4.

'Small business'

Staff salaries and other remuneration accounted for 78% of all costs incurred by MPs, totalling more than £80m.

The figures show that 168 MPs employed family members or business associates last year - up from 155 the year before.

In addition, 30 MPs gave staff what is known as a "reward and recognition payment." The total cost of these bonuses amounted to just under £20,000.

The cost of renting a constituency office accounted for 11% of total outlay, while accommodation and travel accounted for 7% and 4% respectively.

Ipsa chair Sir Ian Kennedy said the figures allowed "constituents to see exactly what their MP spent in carrying out their Parliamentary duties".

"The information we're publishing shows that about 90% of the costs go on staffing and running an office." he added. "That is unsurprising given that MPs operate the equivalent of 650 small businesses through which they work for their constituents and in Parliament."

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