Spring claimed �300 for garage work

WEST Suffolk MP Richard Spring billed the taxpayers more than �300 for work on his garage at his constituency cottage, his expenses reveal.

Graham Dines

WEST Suffolk MP Richard Spring billed the taxpayers more than �300 for work on his garage at his constituency cottage, his expenses reveal.

Mr Spring, who has hit out at the parliamentary authorities for releasing MPs' receipts with many items censored, was reimbursed �268.63 for the provision of a power socket in his garage and �35 for a replacement door lock.

Installation of an alarm at the cottage cost taxpayers �293.77. The work was carried out under the additional costs allowance, which MPs can claim against for work undertaken at properties they designate their second homes.


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Under this heading, he was also able to buy a DVD player for �69.99 and a video machine for �169.99, plus a scart lead of �9.99 and an installation charge of �9.99.

Under expenses, Mr Spring, who regularly claimed the maximum �400 a month for food, charged more than �750 for taxi fares in London in the financial year 2007-08 and he regularly claims for copies of the newspaper The Racing Post.

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“I only charge bill the taxpayers for the Racing Post when I'm in London. It is an essential element of a MPs' work to keep in touch with matters which occur in the constituency and as the bloodstock and racing industries are interwoven in the fabric of Newmarket, I feel I have to read the newspaper every day,” said Mr Spring.

“When I am back in Suffolk, I pay for my own copy and do not recharge it to the taxpayers.”

Overzealous members of the Commons staff who blacked out the full details of MPs claims before they were published led to thousands of meaningless pages being published on the Internet.

On one page of Mr Spring's claims, all that remained after redaction was a long list of figures amounting to �1,677.38 without any reference to what had been reimbursed. His office supplied the EADT with the original document, which showed that the claims had been for newspapers, mobile phone charges, postal services, and petty cash.

One item which escaped censorship was an �81 claim for orchids for his London office at the time he was entertaining officially guests in Westminster from overseas political parties.

EXPENSES CLAIMS 2004-5 to 2007-8

Additional costs allowance: �77,181

Incidental expenses provision: �86,011

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