Family members employed by MPs earn an average of £5,600 more than other staff and have seen their salaries rise at twice the rate of other workers, a watchdog has revealed.
Nearly £1 million was spent on redundancy packages for MPs’ staff who lost their jobs at the general election only to be re-employed by the new parliamentary intake within weeks, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) also found.
Ipsa raised “significant concerns” about the cost to the taxpayer of redundancy arrangements for MPs’ staff as it launched a consultation on the rules for business costs and expenses.
The bill for winding-up the offices of the 182 MPs that left at the 2015 poll totalled £10.4 million, including £4.4 million for staff redundancies.
Pay in lieu of notice came to almost £650,000 while the cost of unused holiday leave was more than £743,000.
Some £975,000 was paid to 125 staff who were re-employed by other MPs within ten weeks, according to Ipsa.
Since the General Election, 139 so-called connected parties, typically partners and relatives, have been on the payroll at a cost of around £4.5 million a year.
Ipsa said it “found no ground for concerns for the majority of connected parties” but controls to prevent misuse of funding “were limited”.
It found that family members who are secretaries or have fewer than ten years’ service are typically better paid than their colleagues while longer-servers and caseworkers are typically paid less.
“But because, on average, connected parties occupied more senior roles, their salaries were significantly higher than the average across all MPs’ staff,” it said