Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

MP second home claims down a third

MPs' claims for second home expenses have slumped by more than a third

MPs' claims for second home expenses slumped by more than a third in the wake of the scandal that engulfed Westminster, it has emerged.

Politicians received £6.8 million from the taxpayer to run properties in 2009-10 - down from £10.7 million the previous year.

The fall, revealed in new data published by the House of Commons, came amid public fury over abuses of allowances.

The saving to the public purse was partly offset by a significant hike in London allowance payouts.

Until April 2009 MPs with constituencies outside inner London could choose whether to claim for a second home or receive a flat rate of just under £3,000 annually.

Some took advantage of the loophole to ramp up their expenses even though they were within easy commuting distance of Westminster.

The rules were then changed forcing all MPs with seats within 20 miles of parliament to take the allowance - but more than doubling the level to £7,500.

As a result, London payouts soared from £148,904 in 2008-9 to £676,248 in 2009-10.

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