Poll: Redbridge MPs cost taxpayer £580k a year in expenses

Leyton and Wanstead MP, John Cryer

Leyton and Wanstead MP, John Cryer - Credit: Archant

Redbridge’s Labour MPs say they have had to claim more than £160,000 each in expenses because of hugely increased workloads following cuts to the welfare system.

Mike Gapes MP

Mike Gapes MP - Credit: Archant

They say they are dealing with far more constituents seeking help and advice.

Figures published last week revealed all four Redbridge MPs spent £580,000 of taxpayers’ money on staffing and office costs in 2013/14.

Labour MP John Cryer, who represents Leyton and Wanstead, said the bulk of his £164,000 expenses claim was to cover staff overtime to meet the 20 per cent increase in casework.

Labour MP for Ilford South, Mike Gapes, who claimed £162,000, said he had employed an extra member of staff to cope with more casework involving housing and benefits.

Conservative MP for Ilford North, Lee Scott, said he had recruited an extra member of staff following more people coming to him with “personal issues” but stressed they were not linked to government cuts.

Data published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) shows the quartet claimed £577,931 last year – an increase of almost £25,000.

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When their salaries are taken into account, the total amount is £844,000 a year.

Chingford and Woodford Green MP, Iain Duncan Smith, cost the taxpayer £118,600 and was the only Redbridge MP to see a decrease in the amount claimed compared to the previous year.

Mr Gapes said: “I’ve employed more staff because of the increase in case work. I’ve seen a huge number of people coming to me with problems since the government brought in the cap on benefits, especially in housing, but also with issues around school places.”

The figures from IPSA are the most recent published by the regulator following the 2009 expenses scandal.

Mr Cryer said: “The bulk of my office expenditure is on staffing costs. My staff earned every penny of their salaries and they often have to work overtime.

“Two thirds of my constituency is in Waltham Forest which is one of the most deprived boroughs in the country and the most affected by this government’s pernicious measures.”

The MPs earn a basic salary of £66,396 – an increase of £660 compared to the previous year.

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