MPs James Arbuthnot, Maria Miller and Sir George Young increase expenses claims (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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MPs James Arbuthnot, Maria Miller and Sir George Young increase expenses claims
ALL three north Hampshire MPs have upped their annual expenses claims compared to last year, according to a Government watchdog.
North East Hampshire’s James Arbuthnot claimed £132,969.20, while Basingstoke MP, and newly-promoted Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport, Maria Miller, submitted a claim for £124,727.61. North West Hampshire MP, and former Leader of the House of Commons, Sir George Young, claimed for £111,228.98 during 2011-12.
The figures are a significant rise from the 2010-11 financial year, when Mr Arbuthnot claimed £91,254, Mrs Miller received £83,276, and Sir George £101,478.56.
However, the Independent Parlia-mentary Standards Authority (IPSA), the watchdog which published the figures, said the claims were all within the rules, and added that MPs in general were “behaving responsibly”. The organisation, which was set up in the wake of the 2009 expenses scandal, breaks down claims by travel, accommodation, and office costs.
IPSA said the latest figures show that MPs have cleaned up their act, and all three of the north Hampshire MPs’ expenses were well below their 2009 claims.
IPSA chairman Sir Ian Kennedy said: “The expenses scandal is now behind us. Remember what it was like – report after report of MPs claiming for all sorts of things, ‘flipping’ homes, no system of scrutiny, and all this behind closed doors.
“That world is behind us. We have overhauled the system and the expenses scandal is clearly history.”
In 2009, when the scandal first came to light, Mr Arbuthnot, whose constituency includes Hook, Odiham, and Hartley Wintney, issued a public apology after spending details revealed he had claimed £1,471 for “gardening and swimming pool maintenance” during the 2006-07 financial year. After paying back the cash, he admitted that the invoice was “wrong and unacceptable”.
Across the south, MPs’ expenses cost taxpayers £1.5million in 2011-12, while nationally the bill for claims by the UK’s 650 MPs hit £89m.