East Devon MP defends energy expenses claim

PUBLISHED: 09:32 07 November 2013 | UPDATED: 09:32 07 November 2013

East Devon MP Hugo Swire

East Devon MP Hugo Swire

Copyright: R Braine cyberphotographer.com

East Devon MP Hugo Swire has defended his expenses claims after being named as one of the highest-claiming MPs in the country for energy bills.

It was revealed at the weekend that around 340 MPs had claimed £200,000 of taxpayers’ money between them to cover energy bills, at a time when consumers face rapidly increasing prices.

According to the Sunday Mirror, Mr Swire claimed £3,198.61 for oil and gas in the year to March – the eighth-highest amount for any MP.

In response, Mr Swire’s office said he had followed Parliamentary rules, and was working to reduce his expenses claims.

Mr Swire’s office said: “Allowances are given to Members of Parliament in order to assist them in fulfilling their duties. They are administered by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) which was created by Parliament in the wake of the MPs’ expenses scandal.

“IPSA was given the remit and powers to introduce independent regulation of MPs’ business costs and expenses and, subsequently, pay and pensions.

“IPSA considers the new rules to be fair to MPs and the public purse, they are workable and transparent enabling anyone to go online and see what their MP has claimed for and what they are paid.

IPSA is independent and its focus is to serve ‘the interests of the public’.

“Mr Swire’s expenses have reduced in recent years.

“Non-London MPs are entitled to claim the London rental allowance up to £20,100 but Mr Swire does not claim this.

“He instead claims the considerably smaller associated expenditure budget (up to £8,850 a year) for the running of his constituency home in line with IPSA guidelines.

“Mr Swire has been implementing energy efficiency measures in his recently-purchased home.

“He anticipates he will reduce energy consumption further in the months and years to come.”

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