Why do MPs get paid allowances or ‘expenses’ on top of their salaries?
Some people have asked me about the allowances or ‘expenses’ paid to MPs on top of their salaries. Because MPs run offices and employ staff, like any small business, there are the running costs of an office which must be paid.
Most paid from the fees office in Parliament directly either to staff as salaries, to my landlord for office rent or to cover travel between the Highlands and Westminster.
Travelling between the Highlands and London on a weekly basis while Parliament is sitting is a costly but necessary part of representing constituents in Parliament. There are also significant costs associated with attending events and meeting constituents in every part of the constituency.
I normally fly between Inverness and London on a weekly basis. These flights are on flexible business tickets, which are not cheap, but allow for last minute changes to flights without losing the ticket cost. Given the unpredictable nature of business at Parliament, and the occasional need to return to the constituency at short notice, last minute changes to travel arrangements are quite frequent and unavoidable.
I spend no public money on my permanent home in Aviemore or my flat in London.
Office costs include rent of my constituency offices in Inverness, business rates, heat, light, insurance, telephones and other equipment. I am supplied with office space at Westminster.
I employ a secretary, caseworker, researcher and office manager in my constituency office. I also have a researcher at Westminster. The staff salaries figure includes tax and national insurance which is sent directly to the Inland Revenue.
IT and stationery
Some IT and stationery is purchased centrally and then charged to MPs. Computers are not purchased but supplied and maintained centrally. This equipment is the property of Parliament.
All my expenses are now handled through the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority and are published for public consumption at: http://parliamentarystandards.org.uk
Do you have any other sources of income?
I have no regular income apart from my MP’s salary. Follow this link to see my most recent submission in the Register of Members' Interests: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmregmem.htm