Skegness MP claimed £173,436 in expenses - the highest in Lincolnshire

Mark Simmonds.

Mark Simmonds.

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Skegness MP Mark Simmonds claimed more expenses last year than any other in Lincolnshire according to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority’s latest figures.

The junior foreign minister claimed £173,436.96 over the 2012/13 financial year, placing him around mid-table for all MPs, though higher than Lincolnshire’s eight elected members.

Of that total, £137,426.92 was spent on payroll, including a salary of between £20,000 and £25,000 for his wife Lizbeth’s role as office manager.

Last year’s increase in the maximum staffing budget available to MPs - £144,000 - coincided with a rise in the number paying family members’ wages from their expenses.

It has also been attributed on Parliament’s total expenses bill rising seven per cent from the previous year to £98 million - higher than before the 2009 expenses scandal.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Politicians should get financial support for the work they carry out, however it’s important that taxpayers know that they are getting value for their money.

“While IPSA are right to point out that there has been a reduction in the amount claimed by MPs since the expenses scandal, they fail to acknowledge that there has been an increase in expenses claimed in 2012-2013 in comparison to the previous two years.”

Mr Simmonds also spent more than £1,000 on taxi fares and £11,000 on hotels.

Spilsby MP Sir Peter Tapsell claimed £166,701.24 in expenses, including £131,395.16 on staff, none of whom were family members.

He made claims for £20,000 in second home allowances for a year’s rent.

Other county MPs’ claims were: John Hayes (South Holland and the Deepings) 169,474.50, Nick Boles (Grantham and Stamford) £141,468.29, Stephen Phillips (Sleaford and North Hykeham) £91,818.20, Martin Vickers (Cleethorpes) £126,714.61, Karl McCartney (Lincoln) £141,063.09, Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) £146,721.57.

The highest claim, £232,042.33, was made by Ian Paisley.