Two Hackney MPs have spent £1.2 million on personnel, office expenditures, and travel expenses over the past five years, according to a new investigation of their expenses.
In an examination of thousands of claims filed during the last Parliament, it was discovered that Meg Hillier, MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch, was the higher spender of the two, racking up a tab for parliamentary work of £646,429 in expenses.
Diane Abbott, a fellow Labour MP who represents Hackney North and Stoke Newington, received £600,091 between 2010 and 2015.
Here are some of the findings of the probe:
- Both MPs were in the middle of the pack when compared to London’s 72 MPs in terms of total claims. Both Meg Hillier and Diane Abbott finished in the top 40.
- Since 2011, the combined spending of both MPs has increased by 22%, which is more than the London average of 18%.
- With no constituency office, both MPs spend less on office expenditures than London’s average.
- Ms Abbott’s travel costs were modest because she used her Freedom Pass to get about the borough.
Hackney’s MPs spent somewhat more than average on staffing and payroll expenditures, which accounted for the majority of the expenses claimed by all London-based lawmakers, according to data collated using tens of thousands of records from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
In all, Ms Hillier claimed £567,961 and Ms Abbott £524,916, which is 9% and 1% over the London MP average, respectively. Their hectic caseloads in their inner-London constituencies were to blame, according to both politicians.
Ms Hillier, whose advice surgeries sometimes draw up to 40 people maintains that as an inner London MP, she has one of the heaviest caseloads in Parliament and has to work hard to ensure that her constituents receive a decent and timely service.
According to her, dealing with these issues is time-consuming and expensive, but the majority of her constituents value the interaction. She believes the volume of cases she handles is increasing, and that she is doing everything she can to keep it under control while keeping high standards and quick turnaround times.
Ms Abbott claimed that the job done on behalf of Hackney North and Stoke Newington residents was incredibly essential and as such it should be adequately resourced.
Expenses for parliamentary work can be claimed by all MPs in addition to the basic pay of £74,000 per year, which was recently increased.
It was only in 2009 that the expenditures program was tarnished after it was discovered that a minority of people were claiming for goods like decorative ornaments, entertainment equipment, and a duck house.
As part of an action to clean up politics, IPSA was created so that it could keep track of expenses. IPSA chief executive Marcial Boo claims that as the regulator of public funds that go to MPs, IPSA guarantees that taxpayers’ money is utilized honestly and that MPs are suitably resourced to carry out their legislative tasks.