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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Snout of order: Bill for MPs expenses and costs set to hit £164.7million

Snout of order: Bill for MPs expenses and costs set to hit £164.7million

Shock figures reveal bill for 650 MPs’ salaries and ­expenses, plus cost of staff, to rocket by £47million

Scandalous: Bill included 'golden goodbyes' of up to £64k each

MPs’ claims for expenses are set to soar by almost ­£47million this year.

Shock figures have revealed that the bill for 650 MPs’ salaries and ­expenses, plus the cost of their staff, is set to hit an eye-watering ­£164.7million.

The revelation shatters David Cameron’s pledge to cut the cost of politics and follows the ­expenses furore in 2009 when MPs claimed for everything from duck houses to ­lavish furnishings for second homes.

The rise comes after the rules were relaxed on expenses’ claims for travel, hotels and spending on staff.

Watchdogs at the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority have asked for the extra cash to cover the bill, the Sunday Mirror has learned.

The cost of MPs and their staff in the 11 months from the General Election in May 2010 to April 2011 was £118million.

It included “golden goodbyes” worth up to £64,766 each for departing MPs and money spent on winding up their offices.

But despite their £65,738 salaries being frozen this year, the revised total for 2012 is £46.7million higher than last year.

Campaigners last night condemned the increase at a time when millions of people are forced to endure a spending squeeze.

Emma Boon, of the TaxPayers’ ­Alliance, said: “MPs should set an example with the pay freeze, they shouldn’t try to offset it by claiming more in ­expenses.

“Too many politicians have walked away with overly generous golden goodbyes after they were thrown out of office.

“With budgets tight, Westminster should act with restraint. It can’t land ­taxpayers with bigger bills when they can least afford it.”

Only last week it was trumpeted that MPs’ pay will be frozen until at least 2013. In May 2010, David ­Cameron said all ministers had agreed to a five per cent pay cut and a freeze until 2015. Advisers recommended that MPs increase their pension ­contributions by 1.85 per cent.

It’s estimated that will save the ­taxpayer £700,000 a year.

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