Gloucestershire MPs cost taxpayers £800,000
TAXPAYERS stumped up more than £800,000 last year to cover the costs of Gloucestershire MPs.
The total costs of the six MPs' expenses and running costs for 2011/12 have been released.
Gloucester MP Richard Graham's expenses shot up from £74,074 in the previous year to £124,811.
But Mr Graham has defended the increase of almost £50,000. He said: "My costs are greater than last year but back then my office wasn't set up.
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"The key thing is that my expenses are 25 per cent less than the last year of my predecessor which is in line with the commitment that I made.
"We are trying to keep costs down but at the end of the day it is up to the electorate to decide whether we are value for money."
The figures, released by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), include the bill for staffing, running of constituency offices, and general administration. Parliamentary expenses include accommodation for living in London during the week, and travel and subsistence.
Total spending by Gloucestershire MPs, who receive a basic salary of £65,738, in the financial year 2011/12 came to £813,530.51. Of this £598,275.14 was on staff costs.
Mark Harper, the Forest of Dean MP, claimed £127,123, an increase from £93,724 in the previous year.
Stroud MP Neil Carmichael spent £144,165 compared to £116,079 in 2010/11.
Several county MPs made the point that, due to the General Election in the previous year, there was a six-week period where no expenses were claimed, putting costs for that year down.
Sir Ian Kennedy, chairman of IPSA, said: "We have overhauled the system and the expenses scandal is clearly history."