REDDITCH’S MP claimed more expenses last year than any of her colleagues across Worcestershire.
Karen Lumley was paid out almost £188,000 in 2013/14, up more than £17,462.69 on the previous year.
The majority of expenses claims were related to staffing which has increased by 81 per cent since Mrs Lumley was elected in 2010 from over £79,027 to more than £143,176.
Running her office in 2013/14 cost £23,019.73 alone, which was more than the £22,750 MPs are allowed to claim and as a result she has agreed to reduce her expenditure during the current financial year.
But her claim for accommodation actually fell by over £743 during the same period.
It makes Mrs Lumley the highest claiming MP in Worcestershire, ahead of Wyre Forest MP Mark Garnier in second on £184,062.60. Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff was the lowest claimer with a total of £128,710,76.
The figures were released by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, the body set-up to regulate MPs’ expenses following the scandal which rocked Westminster in 2009.
Mrs Lumley said some particular items had added to the cost of running her office including a survey of her constituents asking them to inform her of areas they would like to see her focus on in Parliament. She added she had also taken on an additional part-time member of staff to help her with her increasing volume of casework.
“I would like to stress first of all, like all MPs, my bills for rent, office stationery and staff costs have all gone up but my office and I have worked hard to go on providing good value for my constituents. We have answered many thousands of queries from constituents since 2010 and this is my most important duty.” she said.
“There has been no significant rise in either my accommodation expenses or travel expenses.
“I would highlight events put on to help my constituents such as my MP’s Jobs Fair, the recent Apprenticeships and Skills Fair, and last year’s Funding Fair, as well as activities designed to make me more accessible to constituents, and especially young people, such as my Chips and Chat sessions with senior school students.
“My team and I make every endeavour to keep costs down wherever possible, but I believe that I have a duty to ensure we use the budgets appropriately in order to serve my Redditch constituents to the best of my ability.”