Blyth Valley MP cost taxpayers £247,000 last year

Blyth Valley MP Ian Levy cost the taxpayer around £247,000 last year, new figures reveal.

By Patrick Jack
Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 2:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th January 2022, 2:24 pm
Blyth Valley MP Ian Levy at Blyth quayside.
Blyth Valley MP Ian Levy at Blyth quayside.

Figures from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority show the Conservative MP's total business costs for the 2020-21 financial year were £247,387.33.

The MP's costs were up from £47,020.83 the year before, and well above the average for all Members of Parliament, of £203,880.

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

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Ian Levy, who was elected in December 2019, spent £215,600 on office running costs in 2020-21, including £183,700 on staff wages and £31,900 on other office expenditures.

And he spent £23,000 of his accommodation budget (of £23,000), and a further £8,800 on travel and subsistence.

The total costs of MPs last year rose by 4%, 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% last year.

He added: “By far the largest area of spending is to pay for the salaries of MPs’ staff.

"In the last financial year MPs and their staff changed how they work to provide their constituents with a service during the pandemic.

“We enabled MPs’ staff to work from home, while the amount spent on parliamentary business travel fell to reflect different working patterns."

The IPSA figures also reveal the 204 individual claims made by Ian Levy in 2020-21, with the most expensive single claim being for staff payroll – £182,792.68.

At the other end of the scale, the smallest one-off expense the 55-year-old claimed was £1.00 for ctm rail booking fee.

The average cost of an MP was up 29%, 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.

Ian Levy's five largest types of costs were:

1) Payroll – costing £182,792.68

2) Rent – £33,326.46

3) Rail – £6,290.36

4) Equipment, purchase – £4,789.09

5) Stationery and printing – £4,369.26

He also spent £1,338.33 on a working from home allowance.