MSP expenses cost taxpayers £12.2m in past year

Former MSP Bill Walker. Picture: TSPL
Former MSP Bill Walker. Picture: TSPL
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MSPs claimed a total of £12.2 million in expenses in the past 12 months, down £500,000 on the previous year.

Media training skills, hotel stays in Edinburgh and even the cost of a new kitchen were among the claims that were met by taxpayers in 2012-13.

The bill for external consultants and contractors hired by MSPs topped £50,000 while thousands of pounds in taxi fares also came out of the public purse – including many short journeys from politicians’ Edinburgh homes to the parliament at Holyrood.

The biggest bill came from Orkney MSP Liam McArthur who claimed almost £46,000, but this was mainly down to travelling costs associated with his island constituency.

The lowest bill was from independent MSP Margo MacDonald who represents the Lothian seat and charged just £2,627.

Disgraced former MSP Bill Walker racked up thousands of pounds of hotel bills in Edinburgh, despite his Dunfermline constituency lying less then 20 miles from the capital.

The 71-year-old claimed for dozens of overnight stays in the capital at more than £100 a night. Walker lives in Alloa, which is outside his constituency but still less than 40 miles from Edinburgh. He was entitled to claim for overnight stays in Edinburgh and chalked up just over £2,600 in hotel expenses, including hundreds of pounds in evening meals and expenses.

Walker faces sentencing on Friday after being found guilty of 23 charges, including attacks on three of his ex-wives after a controversial trial earlier this year. He also claimed £259 for emergency first aid at work courses for two members of his staff, as well two claims of £50 to buy new pairs of glasses for staff.

The bill for outside contractors and consultancy was £50,551, with Nationalist Chic Brodie forking out more than £19,000 on this as part of his staff costs.

Thousands of pounds were also shelled out on media training for politicians and their staff. George Adam, Jim Eadie and Gordon MacDonald were among the many SNP MSPs to claim for media skills courses.

The cost of taxis to ferry MSPs about topped £22,000. There were hundreds of fares of just a few pounds, which included many journeys from MSPs’ taxpayer-funded Edinburgh homes to work in the parliament.

A Scottish Parliament spokesman said: “The decrease in expenses of more than £500,000 is a reflection of one-off election costs in the previous year but also that 2012-13 represented year-two of a two-year pay and expenses freeze for MSPs.”

MSPs spent £6,720 on tea, coffee and biscuits for meetings and £7,643 on hotel evening meals.

They also claimed £729 for refreshments while staying in accommodation in Edinburgh, with Labour MSPs Mary Fee and Margaret McDougall claiming a respective £181.85 and £129.65.

A total of £15,861 was spent on training MSPs’ staff.

The SNP’s Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North, claimed £1,584 for a kitchen unit, worktop, towel ring and new door in May last year. In June alone last year, Alasdair Allan, MSP for North East Scotland, claimed £76 for tea, coffee and biscuits.

MSP for Clydeside Aileen Campbell claimed £154 for a fruit buffet at her office and minister for community safety, Roseanna Cunningham, claimed £504 for her mobile phone bill in one month.

The salary, pension and national insurance contributions of those employed by MSPs in 2012-13 was £8,915,847.

Expenditure on childcare vouchers was £24,032 and security-related and disability provision expenditure was £17,177.

First Minister Alex Salmond claimed £11,637 on expenses such as office rent, staff mileage, newspaper subscriptions and phone bills. Labour leader Johann Lamont spent £18,434 which includes claims for taxis, hotel accommodation in Edinburgh and office costs.

Conservative leader Ruth Davidson claimed back £16,119 in expenses including £4,899 for hotel stays, while Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie claimed £13,775.

What your MSP claimed

Jamie Stone (LD)Caithness, Sutherland, and Easter Ross£38

Robert Brown (LD) Glasgow£61

Margo MacDonald (Ind) Lothian£2,627

Jayne Baxter, right, (Lab)Mid Scotland and Fife £3,133

Gavin Brown (Cons) Lothian£3,802

Kezia Dugdale (Lab) Lothians£3,990

David McLetchie (Cons) Lothian£5,071

Sarah Boyack (Lab) Lothian£8,754

Marco Biagi (SNP) Edinburgh Central£9,447

Neil Findlay (Lab) Lothian £9,972

Annabelle Ewing (SNP) Mid Scotland and Fife£10,098

Malcolm Chisholm (Lab)Edinburgh North and Leith£10,575

John Wilson (SNP) Central Scotland£11,621

Alex Salmond (SNP) Aberdeenshire East£11,637

Colin Beattie (SNP) Midlothian North and Musselburgh £11,964

Shona Robison (SNP) Dundee City East£12,038

John Swinney (SNP) Perthshire North £12,342

John Park (Lab) Mid Scotland and Fife £12,524

Graeme Pearson (Lab) South Scotland£12,889

Helen Eadie (Lab) Cowdenbeath£12,953

Annabel Goldie (Cons) West Scotland£13,004

Brian Adam (SNP) Aberdeen Donside£13,342

Colin Keir (SNP) Edinburgh Western £13,625

Clare Baker (Lab) Mid-Scotland and Fife £13,660

Willie Rennie (LD) Mid-Scotland and Fife£13,775

Alison Johnstone (Green) Lothians £13,798

Siobhan McMahon (Lab) Central Scotland£13,904

Elizabeth Smith (Cons) Mid-Scotland and Fife£14,585

Fiona Hyslop (SNP) Linlithgow£14,665

Drew Smith (Lab) Glasgow£14,682

David Torrance (SNP) Kirkcaldy £14,811

Clare Adamson (SNP) Central Scotland£15,061

Mark Griffin (Lab) Central Scotland £15,260

Anne McTaggart (Lab) Glasgow£15,415

Angela Constance (SNP) Almond Valley£15,498

Humza Yousaf (SNP) Glasgow£15,567

Hanzala Malik (Lab) Glasgow£15,769

Richard Lyle (SNP) Central Scotland£16,086

Ruth Davidson, (Cons) Glasgow£16,119

Roderick Campbell (SNP) North East Fife£16,364

Fergus Ewing (SNP) Inverness and Nairn£16,364

Gordon MacDonald (SNP) Edinburgh Pentlands£16,665

Richard Simpson (Lab) Mid-Scotland and Fife £16,765

Jenny Marra (Lab) North-east Scotland £17,168

Roseanna Cunningham (SNP)Perthshire South and Kinross-shire£17,279

Iain Gray (Lab) East Lothian £17,438

Murdo Fraser (Cons) Mid Scotland and Fife£17,612

Stewart Stevenson (SNP) Banffshire and Buchan Coast £17,912

Tricia Marwick (Ind) Mid Fife and Glenrothes£18,038

Richard Baker (Lab) North East Scotland£18,070

Neil Bibby (Lab) West Scotland£18,199

Aileen Campbell (SNP) Clydesdale£18,399

Kenny MacAskill (SNP) Edinburgh Eastern£18,419

Johann Lamont (Lab) Glasgow Pollok£18,434

John Pentland (Lab) Motherwell and Wishaw£18,724

Christine Grahame (SNP) Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale£18,874

Nanette Milne (Cons) North-east Scotland £18,883

Richard Lochhead (SNP) Moray£19,381

Jim Eadie (SNP) Edinburgh Southern £19,401

Duncan McNeil (Cons) Greenock and Inverclyde£19,420

Jim Hume (LD) South Scotland£19,564

Margaret Mitchell (Cons) Central Scotland£19,860

Adam Ingram (SNP)Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley £19,906

Michael Matheson (SNP) Falkirk East£19,990

Bob Doris (SNP) Glasgow£20,067

Rob Gibson (SNP) Caithness, Sutherland and Ross £20,271

Sandra White (SNP) Glasgow Kelvin£20,494

Michael McMahon (Lab) Uddingston and Bellshill£20,640

John Mason (SNP) Glasgow Shettleston£20,858

Aileen McLeod (SNP) South Scotland£21,309

Joe Fitzpatrick (SNP) Dundee City West£21,509

Fiona McLeod (SNP) Strathkelvin and Bearsden£21,590

Jackson Carlaw (Cons) West Scotland£21,604

James Kelly (Lab) Rutherglen £21,827

Gil Paterson (SNP)Clydebank and Milngavie£22,015

Elaine Murray (Lab) Dumfries-shire£22,229

Paul Wheelhouse (SNP) South Scotland£22,384

Patricia Ferguson (Lab) Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn£22,436

Jamie Hepburn (SNP)Cumbernauld and Kilsyth£22,510

Elaine Smith (Lab) Coatbridge and Chryston£22,534

Bruce Crawford (SNP) Stirling£23,150

Keith Brown (SNP) Clackmannanshire and Dunblane£23,577

Bill Kidd (SNP) Glasgow Anniesland£23,670

Mary Fee (Lab) West Scotland£23,720

Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) Glasgow Southside£23,888

Margaret McCulloch (Lab)Central Scotland£24,206

Mary Scanlon (Cons) Highlands and Islands£24,691

Derek Mackay (SNP) Renfrewshire North and West£24,924

Paul Martin (Lab) Glasgow Provan£24,958

Bill Walker, (Ind/SNP) Dunfermline£25,008

Christina McKelvie (SNP) Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse£25,094

Hugh Henry (Lab) Renfrewshire South£25,269

Margaret McDougall (Lab) West of Scotland£25,359

James Dornan (SNP) Cathcart£25,371

Stewart Maxwell (SNP) West Scotland£25,510

Maureen Watt (SNP) Aberdeen South and North Kincardine£25,532

John Finnie (Ind) Highlands and Islands£26,129

Patrick Harvie, (Green) Glasgow£26,144

John Scott (Cons) Ayr£26,325

Stuart McMillan (SNP) West Scotland£26,429

Jackie Baillie (Lab) Dumbarton£26,832

George Adam (SNP) Paisley£27,151

David Stewart (Lab) Highlands and Islands£27,198

Rhoda Grant (Lab) Highlands and Islands£27,441

Alison McInnes (LD) North-east Scotland£27,607

Kevin Stewart (SNP) Aberdeen Central£28,071

Linda Fabiani (SNP) East Kilbride£28,329

Claudia Beamish (Lab) South of Scotland£28,636

David Thompson (SNP) Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch£28,680

Michael Russell (SNP) Argyll and Bute£28,876

Margaret Burgess (SNP) Cunninghame South£29,238

Alex Johnstone (Cons)North East Scotland£29,338

Willie Coffey (SNP) Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley£29,435

Graeme Dey (SNP) Angus South£29,653

Mark McDonald (SNP) Aberdeen Donside£29,881

Nigel Don (SNP) Angus North and Mearns£30,005

Angus MacDonald (SNP) Falkirk East£30,066

Dennis Robertson (SNP) Aberdeenshire West£30,086

John Lamont (Cons) South of Scotland£30,386

Alex Fergusson (Cons)Galloway and West Dumfries£30,567

Mike MacKenzie (SNP) Highlands and Islands£30,780

Jamie McGrigor (Cons)Highlands and Islands£31,737

Alex Neil (SNP) Airdrie and Shotts£31,925

Lewis Macdonald (Lab) North-east Scotland£32,381

Alasdair Allan (SNP) Western Isles£32,751

Joan McAlpine (SNP) South Scotland£33,741

Jean Urquhart (Ind/SNP) Highlands and Islands£34,973

Kenneth Gibson (SNP) Cunninghame North£37,976

Chic Brodie (SNP) South of Scotland£39,531

Tavish Scott (LD) Shetland Islands£40,967

Ken Macintosh (Lab) Eastwood£42,474

Liam McArthur, (LD) Orkney Islands£46,931