Mid Devon MPs business costs jump in last 12 months

Tuesday 25th January 2022 1:35 pm
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Newton Abbot MP Anne Marie Morris cost the taxpayer more than £238,000 last year in business costs. New figures reveal Mel Stride, the MP for Central Devon, had costs of £187,000.

Figures from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority show the costs for former Conservative MP Ms Morris, who is now Independent, were up from £208,831.75 the year before, and well above the average for all Members of Parliament, of £203,880.

Anne Marie Morris, who was elected in May 2010, spent £210,400 on office running costs in 2020-21, including £180,500 on staff wages and £29,900 on other office expenditures.

And she spent all of her accommodation budget (£23,000), and a further £5,000 on travel and subsistence.

The total costs of MPs last year rose by 4%, to £132.5 million, with almost £300,000 going on hotel claims for just 49 members.

Business costs are the essential costs incurred by MPs while carrying out their parliamentary duties including staffing, office costs and travel.

MPs cannot claim for personal costs, such as food and drink, during their normal working day, and all claims must be compliant with IPSA rules and accompanied by evidence.

Central Devon MP Mr Stride’s costs increased by more than £23,000 from the year before.

He spent £181,600 on office running costs in 2020-21, including £170,000 on staff wages and £11,600 on other office expenditures.

And he spent £4,500 of his accommodation budget (of £5,400), and a further £800 on travel and subsistence.

IPSA’s chairman, Richard Lloyd, said compliance with the rules was at 99.7% last year.

He added: “By far the largest area of spending is to pay for the salaries of MPs’ staff.

"In the last financial year MPs and their staff changed how they work to provide their constituents with a service during the pandemic.

“We enabled MPs’ staff to work from home, while the amount spent on parliamentary business travel fell to reflect different working patterns."

The IPSA figures also reveal the 130 individual claims made by Anne Morris in 2020-21, with the most expensive single claim being for staff payroll – £174,240.38.

Mr Stride made 138 claims, with the most expensive single claim being for staff payroll – £169,976.08. His smallest one-off expense claim was 90p for the rental and usage of landline phone and internet. Additional information said this was for "Landline".

The average cost of an MP was up 29%, from £158,103, in 2019-20.

Kit Malthouse was the most expensive MP attending the Cabinet in 2020-21, with total costs of £244,312.

This was compared to £178,406 for Prime Minister Boris Johnson and £168,109 for Sir Keir Starmer.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: "It’s important MPs have the resources to do their jobs, but many taxpayers will be worried about the soaring cost of politics.

“The electorate expects politicians to stay grounded and keep costs under control, particularly given the Covid pandemic saw many MPs and their staff work from home.

“With taxpayers facing a cost of living crisis, politicians should be doing their utmost to keep their spending down.”

MPs’ costs are usually broken down into dozens of categories, with staff pay almost always the largest expense.

Anne Morris’s five largest types of costs were:

1) Payroll – costing £174,240.38

2) Rent – £32,510.00

3) Equipment - purchase – £5,545.63

4) Pooled Staffing Services – £5,047.00

5) Business rates – £4,102.95

She also spent £1,534.55 on a working from home allowance.

Mel Stride’s five largest types of costs were:

1) Payroll – costing £169,976.08

2) Pooled Staffing Services – £3,047.00

3) Utilities – £2,347.68

4) Landline phone & internet - installation & equipment purchase – £1,807.38

5) Stationery & printing – £1,377.22

He also spent £1,255.72 on a working from home allowance.

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