MP says: £164k expenses is 'value for money'
PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 September 2012
A SOMERSET MP has told the Mercury she represents 'value for money' after it emerged she made expenses claims worth £164,000.
Tessa Munt defended her claims for the last financial year and said a comparison with the Prime Minister – who claimed £45,000 less – is ‘unrealistic’.
The Wells MP, who covers areas including Cheddar, Wedmore and Burnham, claimed £50,000 more than North Somerset MP Liam Fox and £60,000 more than Weston MP John Penrose.
Ms Munt said David Cameron was bound to have fewer expenses claims as he is able to stay at 10 Downing Street and has access to ministerial cars. Neither Dr Fox nor Mr Penrose claimed more than the Prime Minister.
Ms Munt’s £164,862.07 claim mainly came from the cost of running her constituency office, but more than £30,000 was also spent on accommodation and travel expenses.
She said: “I run a very busy office, with an average of 1,000 pieces of correspondence each week.
“I am very grateful the taxpayer covers the costs of renting my local office, utility bills, the salaries for my team of three full-time and two part-time staff, and the small flat I rented last year in London.
“I work hard to ensure each taxpayer gets value for money.”
When quizzed why she spent more money than other MPs, she said it was largely down to the cost of setting up a constituency office following her 2010 election and because she is unable to purchase London accommodation from her own pocket like some other MPs.
As the Mercury reported last week, none of the three MPs are under investigation for their claims.