Suffolk/Essex: MPs’ claim �270k expenses in a year new figures reveal

SUFFOLK’S MPs claimed almost �270,000 in expenses between them over the last year, according to new figures.

And a further �100,000 was claimed by four MPs from north Essex.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has published the claims of all MPs from March 2011 to the same month this year.

The figures include the cost of accommodation, travel, and supplies for constituency offices, but not the cost of staff salaries which are now paid direct to MPs’ officials.

The largest claim in Suffolk was from Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dan Poulter who claimed �49,758. The lowest claim, by a significant margin, was from Bury St Edmunds MP David Ruffley who claimed �16,119.

Essex MPs tended to claim less – travel to London from their seats is not as expensive as it is from some parts of Suffolk. Ipswich MP Ben Gummer said most MPs now accepted the expenses system and found it worked reasonably well.

He said: “There are some who have been around a long time who are not so happy with things, but most of us feel that it is fair and reasonable.

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“It is right that all expenses claims should be open to public scrutiny – constituents have the right to know what their MPs’ are getting.”

Suffolk Coastal MP Dr Therese Coffey welcomed the publication of the accounts, saying: “Those of us who were first elected in 2010 are claiming for rent in London. I suspect that is why the amounts we are claiming for is all quite high. Those who have been in Parliament for longer may have bought a flat when the price was cheaper and therefore have less to claim.

“But I am quite happy about the publication – it is all part of open government.”

IPSA was set up in early 2010 following the expenses scandals of the previous year.

It now publishes MPs’ expenses every two months giving constituents the opportunity to see how much their members have spent.

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