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WORCESTERSHIRE MPs’ EXPENSES CLAIMS REVEAL BIG DIFFERENCE IN COST OF REPRESENTING RESIDENTS

They are based a few miles apart – yet one Worcestershire MP, Harriett Baldwin, claims £43,000 MORE to run her constituency operation than her neighbouring MP Robin Walker.

She claimed a total of £171,467 to cover the costs of staffing, office costs, accommodation and travel during 2016-17. This is significantly higher than Worcester’s MP Walker, who claimed £127,915.

The huge gap in running costs between MPs is revealed in public data published by theipsa.org.uk, the independent body overseeing MP pay and expenses.

Not far behind Baldwin was Wyre Forest’s MP Mark Garnier, who received £166,234 to cover accommodation, travel, office costs and staffing. His staff includes his wife Caroline.

 Nigel Huddleston, who represents Mid Worcs, received a total of £161,404, while Redditch’s MP Karen Lumley (who has since stepped down because of ill health) claimed back £149,035.

Bromsgrove’s Sajid Javid, who makes no accommodation claims as his ministerial role includes ‘grace and favour’ accommodation in London, claimed a total of £151,315.

Worcester MP Robin Walker ran the tightest ship, claiming back a total of £127,915 – making his operation more than £43,000 leaner than highest claimant Baldwin.

In a response today addressing the difference in costs between her and other local MPs, Harriett Baldwin said:

“One of my staff members was unwell for a period of time last year and I needed to have additional staff help at that time. This may be the reason. All my staffing costs are within the budget allocation and within the salary ranges set by IPSA and I do not employ any related parties. I have a fully staffed Malvern and Westminster office. I rent the Malvern office on commercial terms.

“My mileage costs are likely to be slightly higher as the West Worcestershire constituency is furthest from Westminster and covers many more square miles.

”As you are aware, all of my expenses are published in detail on the IPSA website.”

Mr Walker, in a statement, said: “Worcester constituency is a fairly compact city, so I don’t claim for travel in the constituency. It’s only going to be a few miles and it’s not really worth the effort to claim for those journeys.

“My travel claims are basically just for the journey from Worcester to London and back that I make once a week.”

He said: “I also have lower accommodation expenses because I rent here in Worcester and that’s significantly cheaper than renting in London.”

However, that doesn’t address the huge discrepancy in staffing and office costs between him and neighbouring MPs. We have asked both MPs for more details about their staffing and office costs to explain this gap.

The full breakdown of costs claimed is detailed in the graph below. Together the cost of staff salaries, office costs, accommodation and travel totalled £927,373

In addition all six MPs receive a basic salary of £74,962. Sajid Javid additionally receives £67,505 for his role as a Cabinet Minister.

If you want to check out your MP’s claims for 2017-18 so far, please visit the IPSA website and search by your MPs name or constituency.

Jane Haynes
Former newspaper journalist and news editor, turned public sector PR, now studying for a Master's in multiplatform journalism. Wyrelife is a new, local investigative news website for Kidderminster, Bewdley, Stourport and Wyre Forest. My aim is to hold people and organisations to account to try to make my little bit of England a better informed, better place.
http://www.janerockhouse.wordpress.com
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