Home Somerset rules £176,000 – that’s the local MP’s cost last year

£176,000 – that’s the local MP’s cost last year


Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow cost the taxpayer around £176,000 last year, new figures reveal.

Figures from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority show the Tory MP’s total business costs for the 2020-21 financial year were £176,463.69.

MP costs were up from £163,391.04 the previous year, but well below the average for all MPs of £203,880.

By comparison, Darren Henry, a fellow Tory MP for Broxtowe, had costs of £280,900 last year, while Philip Hollobone, the MP for Kettering, had just £80,700.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State Rebecca Pow, who was elected in May 2015, spent £148,100 on running costs for the office in 2020-21, including £130,500 on staff salaries and £17,700 on other expenditure Office.

And she spent her entire accommodation budget (£23,000) and an additional £5,300 on travel and living expenses.

Last year, total costs for MPs rose by 4% to £132.5m, with almost £300,000 in hotel costs for just 49 members.

Business expenses are essential costs incurred by Members in the performance of their parliamentary duties, including staff, office expenses and travel.

MPs cannot claim personal expenses, such as food and drink, during their normal working day, and all claims must comply with IPSA rules and be accompanied by evidence.

IPSA chairman Richard Lloyd said compliance with the rules was 99.7% last year.

He added: “By far the largest item of expenditure is the payment of salaries to MPs’ staff.

“Over the past fiscal year, MPs and their staff have changed the way they work to provide service to their constituents during the pandemic.

“We have allowed MPs’ staff to work from home, while the amount spent on parliamentary business travel has decreased to reflect different working patterns.”

The IPSA figures also reveal the 197 individual claims made by Rebecca Pow in 2020-21, the most expensive claim relating to staff payroll – £127,419.97.

At the other end of the scale, the smallest one-time expense claimed by the 61-year-old was 32 pence for car mileage.

The average cost of an MP has increased by 29%, from £158,103 in 2019-20.

Kit Malthouse was the most expensive Cabinet MP in 2020-21, with total costs of £244,312.

This was compared to £178,406 for Prime Minister Boris Johnson and £168,109 for Sir Keir Starmer.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the Taxpayers Alliance, said: “It’s important that MPs have the resources to do their job, but many taxpayers will worry about the skyrocketing costs of politics.

“The electorate expects politicians to stay grounded and control costs, especially as the Covid pandemic has seen many MPs and their staff working from home.

“With taxpayers facing a cost-of-living crisis, politicians should do all they can to limit their spending.”

Members’ costs are typically broken down into dozens of categories, with staff almost always paying the largest expense.

Rebecca Pow’s top five cost types were:

1 – Payroll – costing £127,419.97

2 – Rent – £27,458.37

3 – Track – £3,801.70

4 – Bundled Staffing Services – £3,047.00

5 – Landline and internet – installation and purchase of equipment – £2,223.00

She also spent £1,117.07 on home working allowance.

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