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UPDATED: MPs' expenses - see how much your MP claimed over the last year
THE expenses bill for Dorset and New Forest MPs rose by 4.5 per cent in the past year, new figures show.
All but one local MP claimed more in allowances in 2012-13 compared to 2011-12, resulting in a total bill of just over £1million.
Last year, they claimed a total of £959,476.25.
North Dorset MP Robert Walter was the only one whose expenses reduced, although the £143,557.82 he claimed was the second highest in our region.
Mr Ellwood claimed the most – a total of £158,986.16 – and he was the only local MP to claim for mortgage interest under the allowances system.
New Forest West MP Desmond Swayne claimed the least – a total of £88,486.83. He also paid his wife Moira between £5,000 and £9,999 as office manager.
Chris Chope, MP for Christchurch, paid his wife Christine between £45,000 and £49,999 as secretary.
The allowances are in addition to the MPs’ salary of £65,738 and cover the cost of running a constituency office, accommodation, travel, subsistence, staffing and payroll.
Richard Drax, MP for South Dorset, claimed £129,182.31. He said: “My personal costs are the costs that I feel are reasonable for the job that I do and for the staff that I need to enable me to do it.”
And Mr Swayne said: “I would prefer to offer even better value but people expect me to be able to answer their emails promptly and to deal with issues about their benefits, their gas bills, their drains, their planning applications – all of which in the past MPs didn’t deal with.
“Whilst they want me to deal with all these issues, I’ve got to employ staff.”
On the subject of employing his wife, he said: “Having members of staff prepared to answer queries at 10pm or 7am is one advantage that offers. The other is the absolute assurance of confidence in confidential communication.”
Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns said he did not claim for food or employ any relatives, as he did not believe this was right.
“My test is whether I can stand on any doorstep in my constituency and justify why I claimed what I claimed. I’m very confident that I can do that,” he said.
Each MP draws a salary of £65,738. Additional payments for extra responsibilities in the Commons are noted under their expenses summary below.
ANNETTE BROOKE, Lib Dem, Mid-Dorset and North Poole
- Constituency office: £13,308.58
- Accommodation: £11,923.15
- Travel and subsistence: £2,137.39
- Staffing: £7,437.66
- Payroll: £98,393.67
- Total: £133,200.45
- Connected parties in MP’s employment: Eleanor Perera, junior secretary, between £1 and £4,999
- Additional payments: £8,166, panel of chairs
CONOR BURNS, Con, Bournemouth West
- Constituency office: £7,211.37
- Accommodation: £18,633.85
- Travel and subsistence: £3,571
- Staffing: £4,714.64
- Payroll: £111,407.66
- Total: £145,539.47.
CHRISTOPHER CHOPE, Con, Christchurch
- Constituency office: £16,315.65
- Accommodation: £2,099.09
- Payroll: £77,514.09
- Travel and subsistence: £6,641.15
- Staffing: 0
- Total: £102,569.98
- Connected parties in employment: Christine Chope, secretary, between £45,000 and £49,999
- Additional payment: £14,582.04, panel of chairs
RICHARD DRAX, Con, Dorset South
- Constituency office: £11,611.30
- Accommodation: 0
- Payroll: £113,193.91
- Travel and subsistence: £3,624.60
- Staffing: £752.50
- Total: £129,182.31
TOBIAS ELLWOOD, Con, Bournemouth East
- Constituency office: £13,309.48
- Accommodation: £22,324.92
- Payroll: £106,607.96
- Travel and subsistence: £9,537.05
- Staffing: £7,206.75
- Total: £158,986.16
DESMOND SWAYNE, Con, New Forest West
- Constituency office: £2,425.29
- Accommodation: £3,095.30
- Payroll: £76,756.74
- Travel and subsistence: £2,249.50
- Staffing: £3,960
- Total: £88,486.83
- Connected parties in employment: Moira Swayne, office manager, between £5,000 and £9,999
ROBERT SYMS, Con, Poole
- Constituency office: £8,679.80
- Accommodation: £22,691.79
- Payroll: £60,193.38
- Travel and subsistence: £5,593
- Staffing: £3,960
- Total: £101,117.97
- Additional payments: £6,258.13, committee chair
ROBERT WALTER, Con, North Dorset
- Constituency office: £15,220.37
- Accommodation: £4,341.53
- Payroll: £115,480.72
- Travel and subsistence: £6,365.17
- Staffing: £2,150.03
- Total: £143,557.82
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