Which MPs claim the most travel expenses? - Select Car Leasing
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Which MPs claim the most travel expenses?

No shame about claiming – Which MPs claim the most travel expenses? 


MPs are allowed to claim for travel costs which are in support of the MP’s parliamentary functions. It means, among other things, that MPs whose constituencies are outside of London are allowed to recoup the cost of travelling to and from Westminster.

In the 2021/2022 financial year, Members of Parliament smashed the previous year's spend of £1.9 million, claiming over £2.49 million in travel expenses.

To many people, that figure might sound astronomical when put into the context of an ongoing cost of living crisis for constituents.

Read on for a further breakdown. 


The Political Parties Claiming the Most on Travel

Data released in an annual report by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) and studied by Select Car Leasing has identified how much each party has collectively claimed on expenses and provides insight into the total claimed per MP. 


The Conservative party has accumulated an eye-watering £1.36 million+ travel expense bill. 

Whilst a pure comparison between the Conservative and Labour parties would appear unfair due to the difference in the number of MPs, the Tories have still outspent the Labour party per member claiming, with the 342 Tory MPs accumulating, on average, £3,993 each, compared with Labour’s average figure of £3,440 per member, spread across a total of 169 claiming MPs.

Alternatively, the Alba Party’s expenses consist of 2 members and have amounted to £10,298 each. Being two members of a Scottish party may require regular air travel, seemingly justifying the travel claims. This also aligns with the Scottish National Party’s expenditure per MP of £8,586, with the SNP having 46 claimants.  


Current Cabinet Members Claiming the Most on Travel

The next list presents some familiar faces in the form of our current Cabinet. 


Our newly appointed Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack – MP for Dumfries and Galloway - has claimed the most of any current Cabinet member, placing £13,558 on expenses. 

This is over £2.5k more than any other current cabinet member - and also £11k more than the UK’s average full-time commuter

Following closely in second place is Attorney General Victoria Prentis - MP for Banbury, Oxfordshire - claiming £10,694 worth of travel expenses.

Notably, out of the current cabinet's 31 members, 30 of the top expenses consisted of either car mileage or rail/railcard claims. 

Thérèse Coffey - Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and MP for Suffolk Coastal - appeared the anomaly, having claimed £342.50 on congestion charges, making her the only member with this hefty expense.

On a positive note, newly appointed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab, are among six members who are yet to claim a penny. 


MPs Claiming the Most on Travel

Kickstarting the full breakdown, we look at the Members of Parliament claiming the most on travel overall. The top 10 highest-claiming MPs alone accumulate £209,176 worth of expenses. 


Lib Dem Alistair Carmichael - MP for Orkney and Shetland - has expensed £31,572 this annum, placing him at the top of the list with Guy Opperman - MP for Hexham, Northumberland - listing a close second with £28,789. 

It is important to note, however, that all the MPs shown on this list are based in Scotland and the North of England, suggesting they may need to travel long distances at a regular rate. It is, therefore, understandable how these figures were achieved when factoring in lengthy travel.

Alistair Carmichael, for example, faces a 1,440-mile round-trip to get to and from his home in Orkney to Westminster.  


MPs Claiming the Most on Business Class Air Travel

Travelling Business Class eludes most constituents when they book a flight. However, a select few Members of Parliament deem it a necessity, especially for internal flights. 


The SNP’s John Nicholson - MP for Ochil and South Perthshire - once questioned whether Boris Johnson’s 'essential' flights were in the public’s best interest. Yet he claimed £2,394 worth of high-end flights, which averaged out to £399 each.

Following this trend, Labour’s Ian Murray – MP for Edinburgh South - seemed content when discussing the 'travel crisis' whilst simultaneously claiming £1,688 for Business Class flights.  


MPs Claiming the Most on Congestion Charges

Paying congestion charges proved to be a common expense - but which MPs racked-up the biggest costs? 


Taking the top spot is Conservative Amanda Solloway - MP for Derby North - amounting to £1,733. 

Meanwhile the top ten congestion charge claimants alone add up to almost £15,000 in costs, despite clean air groups last year writing to Parliament’s expenses watchdog asking it to stop MPs from claiming the charge as an expense.  


Conclusions

When you drill-down into the data, it's clear that some MPs claiming the most on travel expenses can rightly justify their actions, due to the fact they represent constituencies located far from central London. 

However, flying Business Class and submitting expenses for the congestion charge might be viewed in a different light by right-thinking voters.

The current Cabinet will no doubt draw attention, outspending the average UK commuter by thousands of pounds. 

However, the picture isn't entirely negative, with several MPs actively avoiding claims altogether - and that includes Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. 

And while the Conservative party claimed the most amount of travel expenses overall, the Scottish National and Alba spent the most per MP.  


Sources

The IPSA provided this set of data. IPSA annually reports the MP’s total staffing and business costs for the 2021-2022 financial year.

The analysis occurred prior to Jeremy Hunt replacing Kwasi Kwarteng as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

https://www.theipsa.org.uk/mp-staffing-business-costs/annual-publications

The following travel expense categories were analysed:

Air travel

Congestion charge & toll

Mileage - bicycle

Mileage - car

Mileage - motorcycle

MP Mileage Allowance

Other public transport

Parking

Rail

Railcard

Vehicle hire cost 


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