BARNSLEY MPs claimed almost £1m between them in a 12-month period, figures released this week have revealed.
The basic annual salary of a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons is £81,932, but MPs are able to claim allowances to cover the costs of running an office, employing staff and maintaining a constituency residence.
Data from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) reveals the costs for four MPs across Barnsley for the 2020/21 financial year topped £928,000.
Wentworth and Dearne’s John Healey spent the most locally at £254,677, followed by Penistone and Stocksbridge member Miriam Cates’ £241,578.
Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis and Stephanie Peacock, who represents Barnsley East, claimed £235,720 and £196,533 respectively.
Mr Healey came tenth on a list of MPs with the highest levels of spending this financial year with bills of £188,418 for staffing, £38,145 on office costs, £21,055 on accommodation, £5,830 on travel and £1,226 attributed too ‘miscellaneous’ items.
He said: “My brilliant team work tirelessly to support our vulnerable residents who often have nowhere else to turn.
“Since March 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has meant that my office is receiving unprecedented levels of correspondence, and the shift to remote working has incurred some additional costs in order to support staff in their roles.
“I want to give the best possible support and service to constituents which is why I run an office that’s open to the public so people can always get hold of me when they need me, I employ good staff to work with me and I travel home to the constituency every week.
“This has been even more important during the Covid crisis, when last year the volume of requests for help or information trebled.”
Mr Jarvis, who is also Mayor of South Yorkshire, spent almost £30,000 on accommodation, £2,635 on travel, £26,648 on office costs and £176,572 on staff wages.
“Covid and the cost of living crisis has meant my office has continued to receive unprecedented levels of correspondence and requests for assistance in the last 12 months,” he added.
“These business costs, managed and outlined by IPSA, have been spent on salaries, equipment and training to support staff in their roles and allow them to do the best job for the residents of Barnsley Central.”
Ms Peacock claimed the least of Barnsley’s four MPs, spending £157,358 on staffing, £19,317 on office costs, £16,636 on accommodation and just over £3,000 on travel.
She said: “MPs’ budgets allow us to run a small constituency and parliamentary office so that we can support local residents and raise issues.
“I am proud of the hard work that my team do to support so many local people.
“These budgets are, rightly, closely controlled and overseen by IPSA and are published on a regular basis so that everyone is able to see how public money is being spent.”