MPs to get increase in money to pay their staff

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MPs are to be allowed to increase their staffing budgets by up to £15m a year in total.

The annual staffing expenditure limit of £115,000 will rise to £137,200 for non-London MPs and £144,000 for those representing constituencies in the capital.

The move, announced yesterday by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), could cost the taxpayer £15m.

However, the expenses watchdog said it did not expect the bill to be so high because not all MPs claimed up to the current limit.

The move follows the annual review of MPs’ allowances by Ipsa, set up in the wake of the expenses scandal to set, administer and provide independent scrutiny of claims.

Ipsa chairman Sir Ian Kennedy said the new expenses scheme was “stable and well established”.

He added: “Following the review we have made a significant move to help MPs to staff their offices more effectively. This will help them in the service they provide to their constituents.”

He said that during consultations he had seen some great examples of the skill and professionalism MPs’ staff offered.

MPs who lose their seats if there is a snap General Election before 2015 will also be in line for resettlement grants. They will be worth one month’s salary for every year of service up to a maximum of six months, meaning the maximum award would be about £33,000. It will only be available to MPs who have fought for re-election and lost.

Previously all retiring MPs were entitled to between 50 per cent and 100 per cent of their salaries in the form of resettlement costs.

The resettlement grants announced yesterday are an interim measure pending a review of MPs’ overall remuneration, which will be in force by the time of the planned 2015 General Election.