|The total expenses claimed by Britain's 646 MPs were:|
£57 million in 2001-02
£81 million in 2004-05 and
£86.8 million in 2005-06
|Here are some facts that emerged from the figures released for 2005-2006.|
The average figure for expenses claims was £131,000 which, with the MP's salary, brings the average cost per constituency to £204,000 and the total cost to the country per MP (including the running costs of the House of Commons) to £729,000
Eric Joyce (Lab) is the top-scorer with an expenses claim of £174,811. He claims more for travelling to and from his constituency in Falkirk near Glasgow than the MP for Orkney & Shetland.
The most creative MPs of other parties are Alistair Carmichael (Lib, 2nd), who claimed £161,815; Alex Salmond (SNP, 5th), who claimed £157;844; Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP, 16th), who claimed £152,722; and Ian Taylor (Con, 24th) who claimed £150,356
Labour MPs dominate every sub-division of the figures, including the top 25 greediest and the highest spenders on postage and travel. There are 18 Labour MPs in the top 25 high spenders and 16 Tories in the list of the 24 lowest spenders.
As always, there is no correlation between the amount claimed in expenses and the distance of the MP's constituency from London.
Some Labour MPs spend so much on stationery and postage that it is painfully obvious that they are using their allowance to spread party propaganda, rather than just corresponding with constituents with problems, and using this money from the taxpayer to wage general election campaigns.
There is no transparency in the system for paying MPs' expenses.
Adverse publicity does work.