Mark Hunter publishes expenses (January-March 2009)

May 18, 2009 12:24 PM

Dear Residents,

Below are my expenses for the fourth quarter of 2008/9 (January, February and March 2009), along with an explanation of the different allowances and what the money has been spent on. However, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to write to me at Hillson House, Gillbent Road, Cheadle Hulme, SK8 7LE.

Additional Costs Allowance (ACA)

As an MP I spend half of my week at home in the constituency, but from Monday afternoon until Thursday evening in Westminster attending debates and votes - which often do not finish until 10pm or later. MPs can therefore claim the costs of staying in London to allow them to attend Parliament, up to a limit of £6,000 per quarter.

In the last three months I spent £5,169.35 of this allowance - this included £4,095 for the rent on a one bedroom flat, £184.85 for utilities, £139.50 for the TV license and £750 for food.

I did not, but could have claimed for telephone bills, cleaning, service and maintenance or the flat - or could instead have claimed for a hotel for the nights I am in London.

This allowance ensures that MPs come from all social and economic backgrounds, and that no-one is excluded from standing as an MP because of the cost of accommodation and living away from home.

Incidental Expenses Provision (IEP)

This allowance was formerly the 'office costs allowance', and allows me to run my offices in Cheadle Hulme and Westminster.

During the fourth quarter I spent £1,500 in rent for the office in Cheadle Hulme, £221.79 on rates and Council Tax, £351.53 on telephone and telecommunications costs and £729.90 on utilities including a TV licence. I also spent £100 on petty cash, £738.08 on stationery, £424.62 on printing, £135.82 on staff expenses and £58.40 on taxis to and from the Houses of Parliament. This came to a total of £4,260.14.

Staffing Allowance

This allowance allows me to employ staff both in the constituency and in Westminster so that I can provide a good service to constituents and represent their interests in Parliament.

My team in the constituency act as a vital first point of call for local people when they contact the office, and often act on my behalf contacting local and national Government departments to resolve problems and investigate issues on behalf of local people. The staff I have there work varying hours and days during the week, but in total I employ approximately two and a half full-time equivalent staff in Cheadle Hulme.

I also employ one full time member of staff in Westminster to support me in my work, to effectively raise constituency issues in Parliament through for example contributing to debates and asking questions to Government Ministers, and to do essential research.

In total I spent £21,489.12 on staff during this period, well within the annual budget.

Communications Allowance

From 2007/8 there has been an allowance to help towards the cost of communicating with constituents - other than replying to specific constituent enquiries. For example I have used this allowance to write to residents living near Post Offices to let them know of the current closure plans.

The total spend was £1,781.22 - this included £1,385.16 on stamps, £114.81 on stationary, £176.50 on advertising and £104.75 on printing reports.

Centrally purchased Stationary

I spent £2,026.21 on stationary provided by the House of Commons. This is used by all MPs to communicate with their constituents - including specific constituent enquiries. This figure is not indicative of an average three month spend - I buy stationary when supplies run low.

Travel Allowance

In the fourth quarter of 2008/9 I spent £2,843.90 on travel - almost all of which is to pay for the cost of rail fares between the constituency and Westminster a journey which I do twice weekly when Parliament is in session. I make every effort to buy my tickets in advance to obtain the cheapest fares possible, but as many of you are probably aware these are not available at all times of the day, and there are occasions when I cannot buy my ticket in advance.

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