December 12 2013 Latest news:
by Flora Drury
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
MPs representing Camden, Haringey, Westminster and Barnet have claimed £134,500 more in expenses than they did last year, it has been revealed.
They claimed a total of just over £1.1million between them for costs incurred during 2012-13.
This compared with £967,091 for the year before, said the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
The seven MPs – Glenda Jackson, Frank Dobson, Lynne Featherstone, David Lammy, Mike Freer, Karen Buck and Mark Field – claimed an average of £157,370 to pay for office costs, staffing, travel, rent for offices and subsistence.
The majority of the rise can be accounted for by changes to staffing costs after IPSA increased MPs’ allowance for staff salaries from £115,000 to £144,000 annually.
MP 2012-13 2011-12
Karen Buck (Labour) Westminster North £178,526.86 £146,049.86
Glenda Jackson (Labour) Hampstead and Kilburn £167,035.76 £144,298.58
David Lammy (Labour) Tottenham £165,727.86 £167,187.86
Lynne Featherstone (Liberal Democrat) Hornsey and Wood Green £165,279.05 £123,783.25
Mark Field (Conservative) Cities of London and Westminster £146,292.06 £124,817.91
Mike Freer (Conservative) Finchley and Golders Green £142,387.37 £131,412.30
Frank Dobson (Labour) Holborn and St Pancras £136,347.51 £129,541.39
When the change was announced last year, IPSA said MPs’ costs were not expected to rise significantly as many did not claim the full amount for staffing under the previous system.
However, most MPs representing areas covered by the Ham&High and Ham&High Broadway have taken advantage of the increase.
Hampstead and Kilburn Labour MP Glenda Jackson’s payroll costs went up by almost £30,000 from £123,008 to £152,221, which exceeds the permitted staffing £144,000 allowance. This appears to be due to a member of staff being on maternity leave.
IPSA said she appears to be the only local MP to employ a relative – case worker Claire Fletcher, who was paid between £5,000 and £9,999.
But Ms Jackson said she is no relation to Ms Fletcher, adding it was “incompetence” on the part of the watchdog.
Holborn and St Pancras Labour MP Frank Dobson had an increase in expenses of just £6,806, and he claimed the lowest total expenses at £136,347.
Only Tottenham Labour MP David Lammy’s claim went down, by £1,460 to £165,727.
MP for Westminster North Karen Buck had the highest expense claim, at £178,526 compared with £146,049 in 2011-12.
The majority of the increase can be accounted for by a £25,403 jump in payroll costs.
The Labour member said: “I have had a member of staff on long-term sick leave and have had to arrange cover.”
It was Lib Dem minster Lynne Featherstone (Hornsey and Wood Green) whose costs increased most. Her claim jumped by £41,495 to £165,279. Her payroll claim rose from £94,712 to £135,218.
A spokesman for her said: “Lynne’s office is one of the busiest in the country, with over 400 contacts from constituents in an average week – rising to over 1,000 during busy periods. When IPSA increased MPs’ staffing budgets we used this to employ the necessary amount of staff to maintain a one to two-day response time.”