Doncaster MPs claim almost half a million pounds in costs

Don Valley Labour Party Parliamentary candidate for the 2015 election, Caroline Flint.
Don Valley Labour Party Parliamentary candidate for the 2015 election, Caroline Flint.

Doncaster’s MPs claimed almost half a million pounds in expenses last year, new figures have shown.

The data from Commons watchdog the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority revealed the town’s three MPs claimed a total of £425,946 between them.

The highest claimed by a Doncaster MP was £155,086.19 by Caroline Flint, who represents Don Valley for Labour.

Ms Flint, who is a candidate in the Labour deputy leadership contest, claimed £129,475,92 for staffing, which was also the highest of the three Doncaster MPs.

She said: “It is important that people see how much democracy costs.

“I live in Doncaster, so my travel reflects the costs of going back and forth each week to Westminster.

“I have accommodation in Westminster, which I claim basic running costs for.

“The main overheads are having a constituency office, which I pledged to have when I was first elected, and my staff of five.”

Labour Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband had the highest accommodation costs, with a total £12,825.00.

This is compared to Ms Flint, who spent £3,080.76, and Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton, who spent £2,549.48.

In total, Mr Miliband claimed £132,435.64 – the lowest amount of all three Doncaster MPs – while Labour’s Ms Winterton claimed £138,425.95.

Ms Winterton spent the most on office costs, with a total of £19,263.94.

Overall, South Yorkshire MPs claimed more than £2.4 million in expenses and costs.

The new figures published yesterday afternoon showed the total amount claimed by the region’s 14 MPs totalled £2,426,288 during 2014-15.

Expenses and allowances cover staffing and office costs, travel and accommodation – but not MPs’ salaries.

The basic salary paid to MPs is £67,060 a year.

Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey claimed the most in South Yorkshire for travel, at £11,832.

The total cost for Rotherham’s three MPs was £573,602, for Barnsley’s two MPs it was £362,833.

In Sheffield, the city’s six MPs claimed a total of £1,063,907, a small increase on the £1,024,664 claimed in the previous year.

Across South Yorkshire, the MP with the highest overall expenses was Sarah Champion, who represents Rotherham for Labour.

In total Ms Champion’s allowances were £200,317, with £154,747 paid to cover staffing.

Ms Champion said she had requested an ‘emergency uplift’ to her staffing budget in September 2014 for a full time specialist child sexual exploitation case worker in the wake of the town’s grooming scandal.

She said: “This was to assist me in providing high-level expert support to the huge number of new victims and survivors that came to me following the Jay report.”