The County You Live, Work And Play
Social Justice Minister Is Top Claimant
Airdrie MSP Alex Neil claimed more in parliamentary expenses than any of his Lanarkshire counterparts during the last financial year. New figures show the Social Justice Minister’s total of £32,149.83 was £1936 less than he claimed last year — but £3432 ahead of second highest claimant, Christina McKelvie, his SNP colleague from Hamilton whose expenses totalled £28,717.40.
In total, Lanarkshire’s 14 MSPs claimed almost £300,000.
The county’s seven constituency MSPs and seven list MSPs claimed a combined total of £285,509 between April 2014 and March 2015.
The figure is down by two per cent on the previous year’s total of £291,844.
Mr Neil submitted a total of 330 individual claims including £10,438 in hotel expenses, £8688 in office rent and £5465 in travel miles.
Monklands’ other MSP, Labour’s Elaine Smith, claimed expenses of £23,288, up £1194 from last year. Ms Smith submitted 378 claims including travel miles of £3349, hotel costs of £3799 and office rent totalling £7073.
Uddingston and Bothwell Labour MSP Michael McMahon claimed £22,429, while Blantyre Labour MSP James Kelly claimed £22,961.
The lowest claims from Lanarkshire constituency MSPs came from Clydesdale and Strathaven SNP representative Aileen Campbell at £15,567 and Motherwell and Wishaw Labour MSP John Pentland at £16,393.
Mr Neil said: "The costs of me fulfilling my constituency and parliamentary duties can vary each year depending on the wide range of meetings and other activities involved.
"I can absolutely vouch that every penny spent is justified and can be accounted for."
Ms Smith said she utilised her expenses to maximise her service to constituents.
She explained: "As a parliamentarian I have always tried to keep my expenditure as low as possible. I’m sure my constituents realise that the bulk of expenses is spent on office rent, phone bills, utility bills, stationary etc. Overall my parliamentary budget is used to ensure that I provide the level of service my constituents deserve."
Lanarkshire is also served by seven Central Scotland list MSPs.
Margaret Mitchell (Conservative) claimed £17,373
Margaret McCulloch (Labour) claimed £25,467
John Wilson (Independent) claimed £16,358
Richard Lyle (SNP) claimed £19,864
Mark Griffin (Labour) claimed £13,173
Clare Adamson (SNP) claimed £19049
Siobhan McMahon (Labour) claimed £12,721.