Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ARE THEY VALUE FOR MONEY? Every MP Now Costs Us [Pounds Sterling]190,000 a Year

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

ARE THEY VALUE FOR MONEY? Every MP Now Costs Us [Pounds Sterling]190,000 a Year

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE MURPHY

MPs are costing the taxpayer nearly [pounds sterling]190,000 per person in pay and expenses, it was revealed today.

The figure is up from [pounds sterling]175,000 two years ago.

The sums were revealed in an annual list of MPs' claims for expenses and allowances, published by the Commons under the Freedom of Information Act.

Tony Blair claimed [pounds sterling]8,399 for living away from his constituency house in Sedgefield. He also received [pounds sterling]80,000 for staff salaries and office costs - in the lowest five per cent of claims.

Gordon Brown claimed [pounds sterling]133,000 for allowances and expenses, including [pounds sterling]18,681 for his second home. John Prescott claimed [pounds sterling]114,000.

Conservative leader David Cameron filed for [pounds sterling]135,729 in allowances, including [pounds sterling]21,359 for his constituency home in Witney and [pounds sterling]83,858 on staffing costs. Shadow chancellor George Osborne claimed [pounds sterling]141,552.

In total, taxpayers were left with a bill of nearly [pounds sterling]130 million for MPs' expenses, salaries and allowances last year. MPs' salaries were just over [pounds sterling]38 million and resettlement grants, of about [pounds sterling]5.4 million, were paid to MPs who lost seats or retired at the 2005 election.

The total cost of running the

House of Lords last year was [pounds sterling]106 million, and the Commons cost [pounds sterling]469 million, with the Lords sitting for 134 days and the Commons 137.

Parliamentarians will argue that they represent value for money and that their salaries are far lower than what they could earn in the City or other professions.

However, low-tax campaigners accused MPs of wasting public money.

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "Politicians have forced families to budget hard by raising taxes but politicians don't think the same rules apply to them personally and they continue to run up massive expense accounts. They also refuse to provide any detailed breakdown of their expenses, so people have no idea what they're spending our money on. …

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