Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith defends why his business costs are among the highest of all MPs in the UK

Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith claimed more in business costs than most MPs in the UK last year, new figures reveal – costing the taxpayer around £256,000 last year.

By Patrick Jack, Data Reporter
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 3:47 pm

Figures from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority show the Conservative MP's total business costs for the 2020-21 financial year were £256,254.94.

His costs were up from £64,116.97 the year before, and were one of the highest of all MPs in the UK.

By comparison, Philip Hollobone, a fellow Tory MP for Kettering, had costs of just £80,700 last year, while Darren Henry, the member for Broxtowe, had £280,900.

The office of Bassetlaw MP Brendan Clarke-Smith in Bridge Place, Worksop.

The average across the UK was £203,880.

Mr Clarke-Smith, who was elected in December 2019, spent £226,000 on office running costs in 2020-21, including £192,900 on staff wages and £33,100 on other office expenditures.

And he spent £18,800 of his £20,200 accommodation budget, and a further £11,500 on travel and subsistence.

Mr Clarke-Smith said his claims were “comparable” with many other new MPs who have to set up their offices and have one-off costs. Mr Clarke-Smith has an office on Bridge Place, which was previously an empty unit after The Schoolwear Centre closed.

Read More

Read More
Heartbroken Langold family outraged after finding grave covered in soil just day...

He added: “Counting this, my business costs are comparable with others and many only spent extra this year as they were given an extra staffing budget to help deal with the huge increase in casework because of the pandemic.

"Bassetlaw is also one of the larger constituencies and will be reduced in size at the next boundary review.

“For the 2020-21 financial year my total business costs were £256,254.94 - up from £64,116.97 the year before.

"However, the previous year only includes the short period from December 2019 to March 2020 when I was first elected, whereas the other one is for a full year.

"We were in lockdown in March, so we had no office and very few staff at this point.

"We also had a start-up budget to set up an office and this was rolled over, so the current figure also includes this.”

The total costs of MPs last year rose by four per cent, to £132.5 million, with almost £300,000 going on hotel claims for just 49 members.

Business costs are the essential costs incurred by MPs while carrying out their parliamentary duties including staffing, office costs and travel.

MPs cannot claim for personal costs, such as food and drink, during their normal working day, and all claims must be compliant with IPSA rules and accompanied by evidence.

IPSA’s chairman, Richard Lloyd, said compliance with the rules was at 99.7 per cent last year.

The IPSA figures also reveal the 364 individual claims made by Mr Clarke-Smith in 2020-21, with the most expensive single claim being for staff payroll – £187,125.76.

At the other end of the scale, the smallest one-off expense the 41-year-old claimed was 91p for stationery and printing.

The average cost of an MP was up 29 per cent, from £158,103, in 2019-20.

Kit Malthouse was the most expensive MP attending the Cabinet in 2020-21, with total costs of £244,312.

This was compared to £178,406 for Prime Minister Boris Johnson and £168,109 for Sir Keir Starmer.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "It’s important MPs have the resources to do their jobs, but many taxpayers will be worried about the soaring cost of politics.

“The electorate expects politicians to stay grounded and keep costs under control, particularly given the Covid pandemic saw many MPs and their staff work from home.

“With taxpayers facing a cost of living crisis, politicians should be doing their utmost to keep their spending down.”

MPs' costs are usually broken down into dozens of categories, with staff pay almost always the largest expense.

Mr Clarke-Smith's five largest types of costs were:

1) Payroll – costing £187,125.76

2) Rent – £13,800.00

3) Equipment - purchase – £11,839.95

4) Hotel - London – £10,202.56

5) Training - staff – £5,757.60

He also spent £519.19 on a working from home allowance.