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Wyre Forest MP defends his increased expenses
WYRE Forest’s MP has defended his annual expenses claim, which was £3,000 more than the previous year, saying it was used to provide a “community resource”.
Conservative Mark Garnier claimed £52,392 in 2012/13, a 6.3 per cent increase on £49,044 the year before.
His claims between April, 2012 and March, 2013 included £16,059 for his constituency office, £22,637 for accommodation, £7,298 for travel and £6,396 for staffing expenses.
The MP employs four Kidderminster office staff to help with casework, community issues, communications and projects such as organising jobs fairs. His smaller London office has one member of staff.
Mr Garnier said: “The budget I have been given is a community resource and that is how I view it. What I choose to spend the money on is about making a difference to the community.
“I could do the job with one secretary but I do not think I would be doing the same job and I think people would be disappointed with what they got from their MP.
“The right thing is to do everything we can to help people but with that comes a level of organisation.”
Mr Garnier travels to and from London and and often stays up to five nights a week in a flat in the capital.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, which published the figures, was set up in the wake of the 2009 expenses scandal and has changed many of the rules surrounding MP claims.
Mr Garnier said the “new way of doing things” was an “agreed process”.
Hartlebury’s MP Peter Luff claimed £45,305 during 2012/13, more than the £44,092 he received the year before. Cleobury Mortimer’s MP, Conservative Philip Dunne, received £22,245, compared to £28,027 in 2011/12.
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