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THE EXPENSES of both local MPs soared in 2011 compared to the previous year
http://www.gazetteseries.co.uk/news/9953965.Increase_in_MPs__expenses_claims/ Increase in expenses claims last year from Jack Lopresti and Steve Webb THE EXPENSES of both local MPs soared in 2011 compared to the previous year. Filton and Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti’s claims rose by nearly 30 per cent in 2011, according to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. For the period of 2011-2012, the Tory MP claimed £151,908.31. This represents a 28 per cent increase on the previous year during which his expenditure was £109,159.58. Most of the sum was spent on constituency and staffing costs which rose from £91,202.71 to £116,884.04 in the last financial year. Mr Lopresti’s travel and subsistence expenses also went from £2.454.10 to £4,260.95. However his accommodation claims significantly decreased with £9,638.26 in 2011-2012 compared to £15,502.77 in 2010-2011. A spokesman for Mr Lopresti said that the major increase in the politician's expenses was easily explained by the fact that 2010 was his first year as MP. During that year and over the following one, he gradually built up his staff, incurring more costs. He said: "Mr Lopresti was a new member of Parliament so he started with one member of staff. Now he has three-and-a-half members of staff. "The increase is purely on staff and consituency costs. It takes time to find people who have the experience to do the job." Thornbury and Yate MP Steve Webb’s expenses also increased in the last financial year but only by approximately six per cent. The Lib Dem Minister for Pensions claimed slightly less than his Tory colleague with £150,913.13 in 2011-2012. He had spent £142,671.33 the previous year. Like Mr Lopresti, most of his claims were made towards his constituency and staffing costs. His accommodation expenses went up slightly in 2011-2012 with £17,426.20 compared to £15,968.67 the previous year. Mr Webb told the Gazette that as 2010-11 included the month of the General Election, during which Parliament did not sit, MPs registered fewer claims. This was not the case in 2011-2012, when things went back to normal. He said: "Regarding expenses, the 2010-11 period included the month of the General Election campaign when Parliament wasn't sitting, so inevitably you spend much less doing the job in a month like that. "The word expenses gives a very misleading impression - the main elements include things like paying staff, renting an office and taking standard class rail journeys to and from Westminster, all of which are exactly what my constituents would expect me to be doing."
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