Expenses bill for MPs rises yet again

Prime Minister David Cameron says Oxfordshire MPs 'work hard'

Prime Minister David Cameron says Oxfordshire MPs 'work hard'

First published in News
Last updated
thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by

MPs in Oxfordshire are now costing the taxpayer £50,000 more in claims than they did at the height of the expenses scandal.

The latest Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) figures reveal that last year the six Oxfordshire MPs claimed a total of £853,468.14 – 6.8 per cent more than the £799,054 paid out in 09/10, during the height of the scandal which led to the formation of the watchdog.

But the increase has been defended by Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron, who said in an exclusive interview with the Oxford Mail that the system was more transparent than ever.

He said: “Oxfordshire MPs work hard and we have the most transparent expenses system we’ve ever had.

“If people want to know what their MPs do, what they spend, what they get from them, I think it’s never been more clear.”

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith, who employs his wife Val as a caseworker for between £10,000 and £15,000, said MPs were no longer able to take advantage.

He said: “We don’t make the rules. We have to abide by them, and I believe that MPs are.”

The total claimed last year is an 8.1 per cent rise on 2011/12, which most MPs say reflects an increase in the staffing allowance from £115,000 to £137,000.

Mr Smith’s expenses rose from £142,000 to £165,000 and he claimed around £156,000 in 2009/10.

He saw a £21,000 rise in employee costs, from £114,000 to £136,000, and said it was to “help constituents”.

Oxford West and Abingdon MP Nicola Blackwood’s claims rose by 12 per cent and her staffing costs by more than £15k. She said her workload had increased significantly since 2010 and said: “So, too, has my need for staffing support.”

Wantage MP Ed Vaizey’s constituency office fees rose dramatically after he employed caseworker Lynda Atkins.

Mr Vaizey, whose overall claims rose by 10 per cent, but were less than in 09/10, said: “I find it helps dealing with complex cases and means I have someone on the ground to meet constituents when I’m not there.”

Henley MP John Howell, Banbury MP Sir Tony Baldry and Witney MP Mr Cameron all saw their expenses rise by less than five per cent from last year. Dr Howell said he had “significantly underspent the budget.”

Sir Tony, who claimed the highest rise from 2009/10 to 2012/13, said: “Any increase simply reflects IPSA-approved increases in the salary of my staff.”

Darren Belcher, 46, of Comfrey Road, Oxford – in Mr Smith’s constituency – said: “I would like to see them come down here and live on what we have to.”

Gordon Clack, 83, of Witney Road, Ducklington – in Mr Cameron’s constituency – said: “They haven’t learned a thing from before.”

Claims included £2,469 to Mr Smith for 98 car journeys to or from Westminster and a mileage claim for £61.20 for Mr Cameron’s secretary to travel from her home in Surrey to Witney.

The total amount claimed by MPs nationally was £98m in 2012/13, up by 7.1 per cent from £91.5m in 2011/12. The amount claimed in 2009/10 was £90.7m.

The MP who claimed the highest amount was North Antrim’s Ian Paisley Jr, who claimed £232,042.33.

Tory Zac Goldsmith (Richmond Park) was at the other end of the scale after he claimed nothing at all.

HOW MUCH YOUR MP CLAIMED IN EXPENSES LAST YEAR

Nicola Blackwood £158,422.67
Sir Tony Baldry £141,339.87
David Cameron £121,872.97
John Howell £134,613.68
Andrew Smith £165,235.45
Ed Vaizey £131,983.50

Comments (6)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:01am Mon 16 Sep 13

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe says...

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith, who employs his wife Val as a caseworker for between £10,000 and £15,000, said MP's were no longer able to take advantage.

What a complete load of BS. Explain then Mr Smith why are some MP's. for example, Ian Duncan Smith claiming and are allowed to claim £39 for breakfast ?

The system was changed, yes, but in greater favor of MP's. Perhaps instead of employing your wife and 'keeping it in the family' you should consider employing an unemployed person from Oxford. I am sure you will still manage on your already over generous salary.
Oxford East MP Andrew Smith, who employs his wife Val as a caseworker for between £10,000 and £15,000, said MP's were no longer able to take advantage. What a complete load of BS. Explain then Mr Smith why are some MP's. for example, Ian Duncan Smith claiming and are allowed to claim £39 for breakfast ? The system was changed, yes, but in greater favor of MP's. Perhaps instead of employing your wife and 'keeping it in the family' you should consider employing an unemployed person from Oxford. I am sure you will still manage on your already over generous salary. Sandy Wimpole-Smythe
  • Score: 4

11:05am Mon 16 Sep 13

snert says...

Was his wife unemployed before she was given this role? In which case, he has employed an unemployed person from Oxford for the role.
Was his wife unemployed before she was given this role? In which case, he has employed an unemployed person from Oxford[shire] for the role. snert
  • Score: -28

11:06am Mon 16 Sep 13

snert says...

Well, not specifically Oxford, but Oxfordshire. There are other places in the county than Oxford
Well, not specifically Oxford, but Oxfordshire. There are other places in the county than Oxford snert
  • Score: -26

5:08pm Mon 16 Sep 13

Isawyoucoming says...

Vote the lot of them out in 2015.
Vote the lot of them out in 2015. Isawyoucoming
  • Score: 4

5:57pm Mon 16 Sep 13

Sandy Wimpole-Smythe says...

http://www.telegraph
.co.uk/news/newstopi
cs/mps-expenses/5375
159/MPs-expenses-For
mer-minister-Andrew-
Smith-spent-35000-on
-home-makeover.html

Shows how Mr Smith clearly milked the system back before the changes so why should we believe now that he is not doing the same only under different headings. Oh and Mrs Smith is or was a Councillor who no doubt enjoyed the benefits of filling out her own expense forms at our expense.
http://www.telegraph .co.uk/news/newstopi cs/mps-expenses/5375 159/MPs-expenses-For mer-minister-Andrew- Smith-spent-35000-on -home-makeover.html Shows how Mr Smith clearly milked the system back before the changes so why should we believe now that he is not doing the same only under different headings. Oh and Mrs Smith is or was a Councillor who no doubt enjoyed the benefits of filling out her own expense forms at our expense. Sandy Wimpole-Smythe
  • Score: -2

8:06pm Mon 16 Sep 13

english never a european says...

when are the MPs and lords going to be jailed when they fiddle their expenses. As Mr Cameron says "we are all in it together".
when are the MPs and lords going to be jailed when they fiddle their expenses. As Mr Cameron says "we are all in it together". english never a european
  • Score: -49

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree