MPs claim £88m expenses on top of the £60,675 each gets in salary

Two ministers topped the league table for Westminster expenses yesterday as MPs claimed almost £88m in allowances last year.

The pair faced accusations of profligacy after being paid an extra 5 per cent, well above the rate of inflation, for running their offices, London homes, travel, stationery, postage and stationery.

The total payments of £87,622,957 in 2006-07 were in addition to the £60,675 annual salary received by MPs, bringing the average cost to the taxpayer of a member of the House of Commons to almost £200,000.

The highest amount was paid to Shahid Malik, the MP for Dewsbury and an International Development minister. His claim of £185,421 included £95,230 for staff costs, £25,856 for his office and £21,266 for postage. An unrepentant Mr Malik said he had opened a town-centre office last year, enabling him to treble his constituency workload and deal with more than 2,000 local issues. He said: "I will continue to use all resources available to me to make a difference to my constituency."

Liam Byrne, the Immigration minister and MP for Birmingham Hodge Hill, made the second highest claim of £178,116, including £28,170 on postage. He said: "When I was elected I promised to stay in touch with my constituents and I intend to honour that pledged."

The third highest amount was paid to Joan Ryan, the Enfield North MP who was a Home Office minister in the period covered. She received £173,691.

The highest-claiming Cabinet minister was Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, who was paid £157,076. He and his wife, Yvette Cooper, the Housing minister, claimed between them more than £307,000, including a combined £32,000 for the London home they share. They have been accused of breaking the spirit of the rules by using allowances to buy property in the capital.

Despite having grace and favour homes, four members of the Cabinet at the time – Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, John Prescott and Margaret Beckett, who was then foreign secretary – were paid a total of £60,000 towards London housing costs. Mr Brown claimed £135,525, including £17,017 for his London accommodation, £9,557 for air tickets and £2,812 on postage and stationery.

David Cameron, the Tory leader and MP for Witney, received £143,385, claiming £20,563 on London housing and £12,775 on postage and stationery. He spent £950 on car mileage, but nothing for travelling to the Commons by bicycle.

Siohhain McDonagh, the Labour MP for Mitcham & Morden, spent £49,107 on postage and stationery, almost £10,000 more than any other MP.

The largest travel bill, of £169,971, was claimed by Angus MacNeil, the Scottish Nationalist MP whose complaint sparked the police cash-for-honours' investigation and who represents the Western Isles.

Philip Hollobone, the Conservative MP for Kettering, ran up the lowest bill, claiming just £44,551, followed by the veteran Labour leftwinger Dennis Skinner, with £67,891.

Nick Harvey, the Liberal Democrat who represents the Members Estimate Committee, which released the totals, said the figures showed MPs represented "excellent value for money".

But Matthew Elliott, the chief executive of the pressure group the TaxPayers' Alliance, said MPs should be "ashamed of themselves". He added: "Families are struggling to pay higher tax bills while MPs are spending more and more of our money on themselves."

How much do MPs cost?

Shahid Malik (Lab, Dewsbury) £185,421

Included a total of £128,986 for staff, office and IT costs. Also spent £26,069 on letters.

Liam Byrne (Lab, Birmingham Hodge Hill)

£178,116

Immigration minister had second highest postage and stationery bill.

Joan Ryan (Lab, Enfield North)£173,691

Claimed £21,971 on London housing, despite seat only 15 miles from Westminster

Dan Norris (Lab, Wansdyke) £172,733

Spent £16,287 on postage

Tim Farron (Lib Dem, Westmorland & Lonsdale)

£172,237

Spent £11,559 travelling to his constituency.

Frank Doran (Lab, Aberdeen North)£171,836

Third highest travel bill at £29,684

Angus MacNeil (SNP, Western Isles)£169,971

Air travel cost £30,560

Tom Levitt (Lab, High Peak)£168,660

Postage and stationery bill of £31,615

Alex Salmond (SNP, Banff and Buchan)£166,814

The SNP leader claimed £14,441 in air tickets

David Mundell (Con, Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweedale)£166,598

£5,664 in train tickets

Compiled by Bloomberg

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: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

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
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory