AS YOUR government has consistently implemented austerity policies I was very concerned at the level of your personal expenses paid for by the taxpayer and your response when they were publicised.
Is it correct that your staff were awarded a 10 per cent pay rise when compared to the national average of one per cent and if so how do you justify this discrepancy?
Also can you advise whether you (quite legally) employ any family members amongst your staff and if so how many?
Finally, if the electorate return you as their MP in May what steps are you taking to reduce your expenses in the future?
THERE is absolutely no truth in the suggestion I have given my staff a ten per cent pay rise.
They received a one per cent rise in line with the national average. I also do not think the conflation of staffing costs and MP’s expenses helps us to have a sensible conversation about getting value for money from our elected representatives.
Over 75 per cent of my total ‘expenses’ last year were spent on employing my staff who are all paid reasonably and well within the guidelines. I strongly believe my three staff in Redditch and two staff in London provide genuine value for money for the taxpayer, as I’m sure any constituent who has been helped by them would agree.
By way of context, since 2010 I have received over 170,000 emails, been involved in over 15,000 individual cases, held over 180 advice surgeries, spoken in Parliament over 400 times, helped over 8,000 constituents as well as hosting two jobs fairs, two funding fairs and an apprenticeships fair.
Put simply nothing like this amount of work would have been possible without the hard work of my staff. I could have the lowest expenses in the country and employ no staff – a balance must be struck.
I always strive to provide value for money for taxpayers and will continue to do so after May’s election.
I do not employ any family members amongst my staff.
The expenses scandal during the last Parliament understandably decimated the public’s trust in politicians and I know that lots of people think that MPs shouldn’t get any expenses at all. But to do the job properly any MPs with constituencies outside the London area need to live in two places and I’m sure you would agree it would be completely unreasonable to prevent those without vast personal wealth becoming an MP.
My expenses are published online and can be accessed on my website. I’d encourage all my constituents to look at my expenses and I hope that you’d find them fair and reasonable.
If you have a question for Karen Lumley e-mail [email protected]