Havering MPs defend £500,000 expenses
PUBLISHED: 17:03 18 September 2014 | UPDATED: 17:10 18 September 2014
Havering's MPs have defended the half-a-million pound bill taxpayers paid for their services in the last year.
MPs Andrew Rosindell, Dame Angela Watkinson and Jon Cruddas claimed a combined total of £498,000, while the expenses of Westminster politicians nationwide exceeded those of the 2008/09 expenses scandal.
Taking into account their salaries and additional payments, the trio’s cost to the public in 2013/14 was £723,000. Romford MP Mr Rosindell claimed the most of the three with a total of £177,000 in 2013/14 on top of his £77,000 salary.
Residents took to the Recorder’s social media to express their disgust.
Lee Clements wrote on Facebook: “The MPs expenses system needs a proper overhaul to bring them into the real world.” Mr Rosindell said he often works six days a week and into the early hours.
He said: “An MP like me is extremely active in all of my work. I think I’m of great value and it is appreciated by the electorate of Romford.”
Of Mr Rosindell’s expenditure £149,000 was on staff – which include Havering councillors Osman Dervish and Damian White.
Rainham and Dagenham MP, Mr Cruddas, claimed £169,000 in expenses which includes an increase of nearly £17,000 in staffing costs in two years.
He blamed welfare cuts that have caused a sharp rise in correspondence.
He said: “My office is often the last place people turn to for help, but amidst millions of pounds worth of local service cuts people are running out of places to go and are turning to us sooner.
“I have a very dedicated team in my office who work above and beyond to resolve residents’ issues.” Dame Angela claimed the lowest of the three at £156,000, the vast majority of which was also on staff.
She said: “The staffing budget is set by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority and I use it to pay my staff who earn every penny. They go above and beyond to earn it.”