Cheap at half the price? MPs' expenses plummet

Expenses claimed by MPs have halved in the new Parliament, the first breakdown of payments since the general election has revealed. They were paid £3.1m between May and the end of August, with more than 70 MPs claiming nothing over that period.

Although there were numerous bizarre claims – including 14p for car mileage and £1 for cleaning gloves – the new regime appears to have deterred MPs from treating their expenses as a "nice little earner". The average bill for expenses of about £800,000 a month contrasts with a monthly average of nearly £2m in 2009. Since May, expenses payments have been administered by the new Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), which has faced bitter criticism from MPs for running a system that is too complicated and inflexible.

Frustration surfaced in the Commons yesterday with MPs protesting that the system favoured independently wealthy politicians and even left some MPs sleeping on office floors.

Ipsa published details yesterday of 22,000 expenses claims paid to 576 MPs in three-and-a-half months; the remaining 74, including Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, did not submit any claims.

MPs received £528,710 for accommodation, £80,953 for mortgage interest and £21,471 for hotel bills. Travels costs included £201,290 for mileage, £224,785 for public transport and £6,348.91 for taxis.

There was a spate of claims from MPs setting up offices, with a total bill of £50,874 for office furniture. Between them MPs spent £38,660 for mobile phones, £31,219 on photocopiers, £26,695 on designing and running their websites and £2,324.99 on shredders.

Smaller items reimbursed by the taxpayer included the £9.78 washing-up bowl and the £2.49 hand towels bought by the Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield and the £1 cleaning gloves bought by Gloria De Piero, the shadow Culture minister. The office of the Tory MP for Stroud, Neil Carmichael, is brightened up by a £22.97 clock.

The largest total was paid to the Conservative MP Keith Simpson, who received £20,752, much of it to cover mileage claims between London and his Mid-Norfolk constituency.

The smallest overall claim was the £8.70 repaid to Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour MP for Islington North, for his office stationery costs.

The biggest single item claimed was the £9,003 cost of "bought-in office management" from Siobhain McDonagh, the Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden, while the smallest was the 14p reimbursed to Pete Wishart, the SNP MP for Perth & North Perthshire, to cover the cost of driving 500 metres.

David Cameron claimed £2,581.13 in total, most of it (£2,408.75) a subscription to the Parliamentary Resources Unit, which carries out research for MPs. Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, claimed £2,066, including two office cleaning bills of £19.09.

In the Commons last night, Adam Afriyie, the Tory MP for Windsor, led an all-party assault on Ipsa's operation. He said: "What the system seems almost designed to create is a parliament for those who are wealthy.

"If a member does not have sufficient resources to subsidise themselves in their role, they are then ensnared in a vice-like grip which is designed to bring them into disrepute."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Media Sales - OTE up to £30,000

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning company, whi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Software Developer

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique & exciting opp...

Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border