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MPs' Expenses Bill Soars To Almost £100m
The bill for MPs' expenses soared by more than 7% last year to almost £100m, according to new figures.
Some £98m was paid out by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) for personal costs and running offices, up from £91.5m on 2011-12.
Spending is now higher than in the run-up to the scandal that rocked Westminster in 2009, which prompted tighter rules on claims.
Most of the increase was due to larger staffing budgets but MPs' personal expenses also rose from £23.5m in 2011-12 to £23.8m.
The details emerged in the latest annual information released by the parliamentary watchdog.
DUP politician Ian Paisley made the largest claims at £100,204, followed by Lib Dem Alistair Carmichael on £82,878 and Tory David Morris on £75,902.
One MP - Tory Zac Goldsmith who represents Richmond Park - did not pocket a penny.
Tory business minister Michael Fallon only received £38.74 and Adam Afriyie £604.20.
Ipsa claimed it had saved the taxpayer £35m since taking over the expenses system but it used figures from two years before it started work as the baseline to work out the saving.
The total allowances bill was £95.4m in 2008-09 but it had already dropped to £90.7m by 2009-10, which was before Ispa started work.
House of Commons records suggest that MPs received £27m for personal and staff expenses in 2008-09 and £20.4m the following year.
Other details in the documents show MPs gave out £13,163 in "reward and recognition" payments to 49 workers last year, a sharp rise on £8,104 between 57 people the year before.
They also show some 155 MPs employed family members over the 12 months.
Outspoken Tory Nadine Dorries' daughter Philippa was among the highest earners, receiving £40,000-45,000 as office manager.
She is now believed to have left to train as a lawyer, but her sister Jennifer has been taken on as senior secretary with a salary of £30,000-35,000.
The publication comes after the watchdog proposed lifting MPs' pay from £66,000 now to £74,000 after the 2015 general election despite protests from party leaders.
TaxPayers' Alliance chief executive Matthew Sinclair said: "Of course MPs should get reasonable office and staff support to assist them in their important work representing constituents at Westminster, but these costs must be kept under control.
"Taxpayers want to know that they are getting value for their money and they will have serious concerns about there being a hike in the overall cost of running MPs' offices over the last 12 months.
"While there have been many sensible changes to the expenses regime since the 2009 scandal, this kind of year-on-year rise is totally unsustainable and Ipsa has to explain to those of us footing the bill how that has been allowed to happen."