The annual business costs of Burnham-On-Sea’s MP for the 2020-21 financial year have been revealed by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).
Business costs are the essential costs incurred by MPs while carrying out their parliamentary duties, including staffing, office costs, and travel.
They cannot claim for personal costs, and all of their claims must be compliant with IPSA rules and accompanied by evidence.
Five Somerset MPs were above the national average for MPs’ business costs (£203,880). They were David Warburton, Ian Liddell-Grainger, John Penrose, Marcus Fysh, and Dr Liam Fox. Burnham’s James Heappey had costs below the national average.
Mr Heappey, who is also Armed forces minister, had business costs of over £200,000 for the 2020-21 financial year – up from £183,738.82 from the year before.
Mr Heappey spent £176,212.50 on office running costs, including £159,174.21 on staff wages and £17,038.28 on other office costs.
He spent £21,282.08 of his accommodation budget of just over £22,100 and a further £2,637.01 on travel and subsistence. His working from home allowance was £1,453.14. A £1.80 expense for car milage was his smallest single business cost of the financial year.
Across the board, the total cost of MPs rose by four per cent last year to £132.5 million.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s business costs were £178,406, while the leader of the opposition Sir Keir Starmer cost the taxpayer £168,109.
IPSA chairman Richard Lloyd said: “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 figures show David Warburton, who represents Somerton and Frome, had the greatest business costs of Somerset’s MPs at £239,178.08.