December 13 2013 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Editor
Friday, September 13, 2013
The bill for MPs’ expenses in this region was more than £500,000 last year - a 10pc increase on the previous year, according to new figures.
North-West Norfolk Henry Bellingham £31,723.20
South-West Norfolk Elizabeth Truss £27,353.73
Mid-Norfolk George Freeman £36,505.74
Broadland Keith Simpson £36,108.66
North Norfolk Norman Lamb £41,198.99
Norwich South Simon Wright £40,292.61
Norwich North Chloe Smith £36,244.28
South Norfolk Richard Bacon £53,775.92
Great Yarmouth Brandon Lewis £43,385.22
Waveney Peter Aldous £45,395.44
Bury St Edmunds David Ruffley £55,123.99
Suffolk Coastal Therese Coffey £51,817.00
The sum paid out by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) for personal costs and running offices was up from £496,000 in 2011-12 to £545,000 for Norfolk, North Suffolk and Fenland.
Nationally spending is now higher than in the run-up to the scandal that rocked Westminster in 2009.
The details emerged in the latest annual information released by the parliamentary watchdog.
In this region two MPs claimed over £50,000, not including staff salaries. Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley claimed £55,123.99 and South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon claimed £53,775.92.
The smallest claim among the region’s MPs was £27,353 by South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss.
Some 155 MPs employed family members during 2012-13 including North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham, who employs his wife Emma as a parliamentary assistant on a salary of between £10,000 and £14,999.
Waveney MP Peter Aldous listed Suffolk County Council leader Mark Bee as a senior caseworker on a salary of between £5,000 and £9,999.
The publication comes after the watchdog proposed lifting MPs’ pay from £66,000 now to £74,000 after the 2015 general election - despite protests from David Cameron that the cost of politics must not be allowed to rise.
TaxPayers’ Alliance chief executive Matthew Sinclair said: “Of course MPs should get reasonable office and staff support to assist them in their important work representing constituents at Westminster, but these costs must be kept under control.
“Taxpayers want to know that they are getting value for their money and they will have serious concerns about there being a hike in the overall cost of running MPs’ offices over the last 12 months.
“While there have been many sensible changes to the expenses regime since the 2009 scandal, this kind of year-on-year rise is totally unsustainable and Ipsa has to explain to those of us footing the bill how that has been allowed to happen.
“Unfortunately, Ipsa’s ability to safeguard taxpayers’ money has already been called into question, given its own administrative costs and its recent decision to decamp to a plush hotel to hatch its plan to increase MPs’ pay.
“What remains essential is that all details of MPs’ expenses and office costs are easily accessible so that taxpayers can judge for themselves how their representatives are spending their cash and hold them to account as appropriate.”