Friday, January 10, 2014
MPs covering Norfolk, Waveney and North-East Cambridgeshire claimed more than £92,000 in expenses in August and September last year, it has emerged.
The lowest claim of the MPs came from Norwich MP Simon Wright who claimed 16p for Rapesco Foldback Clips. He only just beat North East Cambridgeshire MP Stephen Barclay as the lowest individual claim after the MP in the fens claimed 17p for Rapesco Staples,
He also claimed £1,239 for a folding machine for parliamentary letters.
A fan of the traditional fountain pen, Mr Barclay claimed £7.54 for a black Pilot V4 Disposable Fountain Pen, while Broadland MP Keith Simpson also turned out to be a fan of fountain pens, claiming £105.77-worth of the same variety in blue.
There were a number of interns recorded over the summer.
Henry Bellingham claimed more than £280 for an intern to travel from Winchfield to London for three weeks, while Liz Truss claimed £17.80, £25 and £21.20 for transport and a series of lunches for her work experience charge.
MPs covering Norfolk, Waveney and East Cambridgeshire claimed more than £92,000 in expenses in August and September last year, it has emerged.
The parliamentary watchdog IPSA released details of 35,000 claims totalling £4.85m, including 679 individual claims by our MPs.
Three Norfolk MPs claimed more than £10,000 in the period.
These were Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis who claimed £11,953, Mid-Norfolk MP George Freeman who claimed £11,792 and North West Norfolk MP Henry Bellingham who claimed £10,666.
Mr Lewis’ biggest claim was £1,149.60 for a Toshiba Portege UltraBook 2930 computer and he also claimed almost £3,000 for “research, briefing and other parliamentary-associated assistance”.
He said it was the first laptop that he had claimed in more than three years. “The staffing costs are the same every month of the year. These are office costs and these are stationery costs providing services for residents, and this is how they are done,” he said.
Some of the MPs had bills paid for three months and said that their expenses would even out over the year. George Freeman’s biggest expense was a £1,746 for training course for his staff, which included tutoring for two young members of staff he had taken on.
He said: “After some of the appalling abuses of the expenses scandal in the last Parliament, as a newly-elected MP I am very sensitive to public anger and do all I can to keep my costs to a minimum, including not claiming a second home allowance or for late-night subsistence when voting late.
“My biggest cost is staffing in the constituency and Westminster offices, to help handle the 300 letters and emails we receive each week, and the local campaigns I run.
“The important figures that the public will rightly want to scrutinise are the annual totals showing the total cost of MPs expenses over the year, which I am confident will show that as for previous years I am one of the lower claimants, rather than these figures which are simply for what was claimed in the two months of August and September (as opposed to what was incurred).”
North-West Norfolk Henry Bellingham’s biggest expense was £1,970.82 for buildings insurance, which he listed as an “accommodation cost” and £1,838.04 which he spent on renting his office.
South-West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss, who came under fire for claiming £2,579.67 for gas and electricity at her second home between 2012 and 2013, claimed the least of the MPs in August and September asking for £2,580.32 for her expenses.
All MPs’ expenses are now published following the parliamentary expenses scandal in 2009, which was triggered by the leak and subsequent publication by The Telegraph Group in 2009.
It following failed attempts by parliament to prevent disclosure under Freedom of Information legislation.