Oldham MPs tot up £300,000 in expenses

Reporter: Beatriz Ayala
Date published: 22 July 2011

OLDHAM MPs claimed almost £300,000 in expenses between them during the last parliamentary year.

New figures released by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) showed Ashton MP David Heyes, whose constituency includes Failsworth and Hollinwood, claimed the most overall between May, 2010, and the end of March, 2011.

He claimed £131,226.90 in total which was closely followed by Michael Meacher, MP for Oldham West and Royton, with £130,215.21. Debbie Abrahams, who was voted into the Oldham East and Saddleworth MP seat on January 14 following Oldham’s historic by-election, claimed £22,756.78.

The highest individual payout went to Mr Meacher who claimed £105,478.19 on staffing costs.

But the IPSA, which administers and regulates MPs’ expenses, refused to reimburse two train ticket claims by Mr Meacher totalling £87.40, and a general administration claim by Mr Heyes for £129.84.

Mr Heyes was also only reimbursed £530.16 for a general administration claim of £660.

Former Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Phil Woolas, who lost his seat when a court ruled he had broken election rules, claimed £37,572.71 in winding up costs and a total of £107,523.98 in expenses claims from May 7 to November 5, 2010.

MPs across the country earn a basic salary of £65,738. Labour’s David Lammy (Tottenham) received the highest payment after his claims totalled £173,922.

But 39 claims from 35 MPs were either not paid in full or not paid at all. The new figures also revealed peers were claiming more in expenses in the wake of reforms intended to clean up the system.

The average received by members of the House of Lords per day they attend has risen from £270 to £274 since the changes were introduced in October, 2010.

MPs claimed a total of £70.6 million in parliamentary expenses over the financial year, down from £98million in 2009-10 when the system was still operated by the Commons Fees Office.

Prime Minister David Cameron received £106,056, Labour leader Ed Miliband claimed £74,357 and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg claimed £110,878.

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