MSPs’ £12.5m in expenses (including a bowl for £1)

Overall spending on MSP salaries, pensions and expenses were down by �25,000. Picture: PA

Overall spending on MSP salaries, pensions and expenses were down by �25,000. Picture: PA

Share this article
30
Have your say

MSPs pocketed £12.49 million in expenses over the last financial year with claims ranging from a £1 bowl to computer equipment worth several thousand pounds.

The annual publication of MSPs’ expenses showed the amount claimed had fallen by two per cent on the previous year – the equivalent of £25,238.

Items claimed for ranged from large and small, with SNP MSP Colin Beattie charging the taxpayer for his bowl, purchased from “Bargain Buys”.

At the other end of the scale rural affairs minister Richard Lochhead claimed £1,289 for a 27in-screen Mac computer - and he needed a £12.99 “Switch To Mac” manual to learn how to use it.

Ex-cabinet minister Michael Russell paid £1,399 for a top-of-the-range MacBook Pro while his SNP colleague David Stewart settled for a £319 budget Acer.

Labour backbencher Margaret McCulloch also claimed £1,399 for a 27in Mac desktop computer, while SNP MSP Colin Keir claimed for a £4,194 digital printer.

Paper-folding machines were popular office expenses, from the £899 model claimed by Labour MSP Mary Fee, to SNP MSPs Stewart Maxwell and Stuart McMillan’s £500 folders.

As in previous years, the MSPs from far-flung constituencies were among the highest claimers with travel expenses accounting for a large proportion of their expenses bills.

Liam McArthur, the Lib Dem MSP for Orkney, claimed a total of £40,320 and his colleague Tavish Scott, MSP for Shetland, claimed £49,273.

Mr Scott was also found to be the only MSP to regularly claim for a ride on Edinburgh’s tram.

Mr Scott, who piloted the final tram bill through Holyrood in 2006 when he was transport minister, has claimed for 11 £5 journeys from Edinburgh Airport to the city centre.

The SNP MSP Chic Brodie was another big claimer with his total coming to more than £52,000. However, Mr Brodie’s bill included money for outsourcing staff. Other MSPs use a separate allowance of up to £62,000 to pay their staff – details of which are not included in the figures published yesterday.

A spokesman for the SNP said yesterday: “Mr Brodie outsources the majority of his staffing costs - and his real overall staffing bill is in line with other MSPs.” 

Despite resigning as an MSP two years ago following his conviction for assaulting his ex-wives, the former SNP politician Bill Walker managed to claim £76.18 as “winding up provision”.

Back to the top of the page