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REVEALED: The London MPs spending most on staff

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Which parliamentarians are splurging most on employees?

There are huge variations in London MPs’ staffing costs, LondonlovesBusiness.com can reveal, despite many MPs’ efforts to get their expenses whiter than white.

Our in-depth research into expenses filed between May 2010 and April 2011 reveals that some London MPs expensed up to three and a half times more than others for staffing.

Fifteen of London’s 73 MPs managed to expense less than £80,000 for their total staff costs – yet Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy expensed more than £150,000. His claim was the highest of all London MPs for staffing costs.

The average London MP spend on staff was £90,000. A majority of London MPs expensed less than that.

Lammy’s staffing costs were £36,507 more than Barry Gardiner, MP for Brent North, who came in second place. This helped make Lammy the highest expensing MP for period with total expenditure at £173,922.06.

Lammy’s head of office Mark Rusling attributed the high costs to the case work involved in running a constituency like Tottenham. “We have to employ a full-time person just to do immigration case work,” he said.

“It’s a ridiculous situation to assume the work is the same per constituency. It’s not something we’re trying to hide – we probably need even more staff.”

Rusling also said maternity leave had “artificially” inflated costs: “Anybody who runs a business will know that vastly inflates cost.”

At the other end of the scale, Tory MP for Uxbridge & South Ruislip John Randall billed £45,057 for staff. Labour MP Virendra Sharma expensed £57,363.

Commenting on his low staffing costs, Randall admitted to having fewer staff than most, and commended the work of his main secretary. “It’s down to having super staff,” he said. “Between us we manage to do the job.

“Myself and my main secretary are control freaks and we like to know exactly what’s going on.”

Randall also attributed the low costs to his former career as managing director of the family run furniture shop Randall. He said: “I come from a business background and don’t like farming it out so much. I like to make sure we get value for money.”

Randall wouldn’t comment directly on other MPs’ staffing costs, but did suggest that inexperience played a part. “We work pretty hard, but we’ve also been doing it for some considerable time. New people come in and they find it a shock to the system,” he said.

Matthew Offord, James Brokenshire and Jo Johnson (MP for Orpington and younger brother to Boris Johnson) all came in with low staffing costs too.

According to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), the main elements of staffing costs are salary, national insurance and pension costs of MPs’ staff.

There is also provision for some bought-in services, pooled research services, and the travel and lunch expenses of interns.

MPs who spent the least on staffing

1. John Randall Uxbridge & South Ruislip £45,057.89
2. Virendra Sharma Ealing Southall £57,363.45
3. Matthew Offord Hendon £62,135.19
4. James Brokenshire Old Bexley and Sidcup £73,313.96
5. Jo Johnson Orpington £76,250.97
6. Sarah Teather Brent Central £77,007.23
7. Zac Goldsmith Richmond Park £77,289.17
8. Stephen Hammond Wimbledon £77,837.97
9. Mike Freer Finchley and Golders Green £78,269.29
10. John Cryer Leyton and Wanstead £78,856.36



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