Toilet paper adds to MSPs' £10m expenses

MSPs claimed more than £10 million worth of expenses last year including toilet rolls and management guru guides, figures revealed yesterday.

The individual expense claims of all the MSPs for 2007-8, as published by the Scottish Parliament, came to a total of 10,250,471.

The sum was 10,815 less than the year before, despite the fact that it also included the amount given back to 42 former MSPs who either retired or were voted out of office in May 2007.

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However, there were some eyebrows raised at some of the claims, in particular a five-fold increase in the party leaders' allowance from 5,776 in 2006-7 to 27,193 in 2007-8.

Much of the detail of this was hidden, but parliamentary sources said that most of the extra claims were down to support costs for former Labour leader Wendy Alexander and ex-Liberal Democrat leader Nicol Stephen.

Much of it is believed to have been spent on staff, including Ms Alexander's official spokesman, Simon Pia, and 1,200 paid to economics professor Arthur Midwinter for a month's consultancy work.

A total of 2,555.44 was spent by MSPs on toilet paper and other hygiene products.

Enterprise minister Jim Mather was compensated for 255.44 of books he bought by management gurus. These included The Age of Turbulence, the life story of former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, and The Art of Hassle-Free Management by Philip Crosby. He also claimed money back for Juran's Quality Handbook, a work by Dr Joseph Juran that tries to combine Japanese philosophy with running a business; and The Origin of Wealth by Dr Eric Beinbocker, which claims to turn 100 years of economic theory on its head.

Lib Dem finance spokesman Jeremy Purvis said: "We now know why Jim Mather hasn't been speaking in parliament much. He's been too busy reading these books he's asking the taxpayer to pay for."

The spotlight also fell, however, on the Lib Dems, who had six of the top ten claimants.

Number one was party leader Tavish Scott, with 54,434, who has additional costs travelling to his Shetland constituency.

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However, an SNP spokesman pointed out that Alasdair Allan, the MSP for the Western Isles, had claimed much less, even though he, too, has to fly back.

He added: "If the Lib Dems want to find 800 million of savings for a 2p income tax cut, maybe they could look at themselves first."

But a Lib Dem spokeswoman said: "Objective observers will see that our MSPs represent some of the remotest corners of the country. This explains the inevitable cost of getting to the parliament every week."

Jamie McGrigor, Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, came second with expenses totalling 44,564.

He was followed by Lib Dem Mike Rumbles (West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine) with 44,332 and Nicol Stephen, Lib Dem leader at the time and MSP for Aberdeen South, with 43,358. Another Lib Dem, Jamie Stone, came fifth with 42,220.

List MSPs for the Lothians came bottom of the expense list, cheapest being the Independent Margo MacDonald, who cost the public the least at just 1,960.

Highlands and Islands list MSP David Stewart was the highest claiming Labour MSP, at 41,474, while Kenneth Gibson, MSP for Cunninghame North, was the highest claiming Nationalist at 37,348.

Cost of revealing ministers' expenses

TAXPAYERS are facing a bill in excess of 2 million to cover the cost of publishing full details of MPs' expenses, it emerged yesterday.

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Harriet Harman, the Labour leader of the House, disclosed the rising cost of scanning about 1.2 million receipts submitted since April 2004.

She said the process was being delayed to allow MPs the chance to conceal information that would compromise their security or intrude upon their personal life.

She said this could include cases where a receipt included items such as Valentine cards for which they were not claiming, or shopping bills that disclosed the type of shampoo or hair conditioner they used. During a Commons debate to agree new rules on allowances, Ms Harman said the cost of the process had jumped from 1.2 million to "2 million and something". She added: "It's an expensive exercise, there is no doubt about that."

But the cost was ridiculed by freedom of information campaigner Heather Brooke, who won a High Court test case last year forcing the full disclosure of 14 sitting and former MPs' expenses. She said: "Putting something through a scanner does not cost 1 a page. All the things that are costing money are self-inflicted. There is no need for every single thing to be scanned in."

The names and the claims

Brian Adam 23,486

Bashir Ahmad 18,922

Bill Aitken 24,777

Wendy Alexander 30,911

Alasdair Allan 36,288

Andrew Arbuckle 56*

Jackie Baillie 34,895

Shiona Baird 614*

Claire Baker 15,875

Richard Baker 22,213

Chris Ballance 242*

Mark Ballard 40*

Scott Barrie 6,851*

Sarah Boyack 28,045

Rhona Brankin 20,010

Ted Brocklebank 28,616

Gavin Brown 14,745

Keith Brown 27,846

Robert Brown 27,133

Derek Brownlee 19,905

Bill Butler 17,324

Rosemary Byrne 1,861*

Aileen Campbell 23,790

Dennis Canavan 512*

Jackson Carlaw 21,761

Malcolm Chisholm 13,769

Willie Coffey 12,783

Angela Constance 23,307

Cathie Craigie 18,150

Bruce Crawford 23,130

Roseanna Cunningham 30,503

Frances Curran 8,865*

Margaret Curran 20,596

David Davidson 2,142*

Susan Deacon 397*

Nigel Don 27,962

Bob Doris 22,962

Lord James Douglas-Hamilton 107*

Helen Eadie 16,170

Fergus Ewing 35,529

Linda Fabiani 18,746

Patricia Ferguson 17,626

Alex Fergusson 28,109

Ross Finnie 30,259

Joe FitzPatrick 24,498.48

Lord George Foulkes 4,174.83

Colin Fox 9,375.04*

Murdo Fraser 30,033.93

Phil Gallie 3,190.81*

Kenny Gibson 37,348.55

Rob Gibson 28,902.55

Karen Gillon 34,757.24

Marlyn Glen 23,746.31

Trish Godman 23,669.09

Annabel Goldie 22,702.13

Charlie Gordon 36,760.48

Donald Gorrie 182.64*

Christine Grahame 29,149.84

Rhoda Grant 33,204.84

Iain Gray 16,042.08

Robin Harper 4,697.01

Christopher Harvie 15,080.59

Patrick Harvie 18,674.31

Hugh Henry 24,508.92

Jamie Hepburn 13,736.89

Janis Hughes 153.27*

Jim Hume 33,015.49

Fiona Hyslop 11,376.95

Adam Ingram 27,236.23

Gordon Jackson 4,243.62*

Sylvia Jackson 1,194.05*

Cathy Jamieson 25,555.15

Margaret Jamieson 9,158.80*

Alex Johnstone 33,619.38

Rosie Kane 9,158.34*

James Kelly 17,549.49

Andy Kerr 30,317.73

Bill Kidd 24,304.62

Johann Lamont 17,284.72

John Lamont 39, 651.82

Carolyn Leckie 7,576.37*

Marilyn Livingstone 20,153.17

Richard Lochhead 27,517.80

George Lyon 1,250.39*

Kenny MacAskill 23,981.73

Lewis Macdonald 38,454.03

Margo MacDonald 1,960.73

Kenneth Macintosh 31,803

Kate MacLean 1,828*

Maureen McMillan 4,521*

Campbell Martin 4,053*

Paul Martin 26,611

Tricia Marwick 20,809

Jim Mather 32,134

Michael Matheson 27,944

Stewart Maxwell 25,873

Christine May 1,103*

Liam MacArthur 39,687

Frank McAveety 25,262

Tom McCabe 18,860

Jack McConnell 23,209

Bruce McFee 125*

Jamie McGrigor 44,564

Alison McInnes 37,375

Ian McKee 9,232

Christina McKelvie 15,102

David McLetchie 18,659

Michael McMahon 24,625

Stuart McMillan 33,854

Duncan McNeil 33,475

Pauline McNeill 27,055

Des McNulty 15,530

Nanette Milne 34,392

Margaret Mitchell 27,467

Brian Monteith 396*

Alasdair Morgan 24,767

Alasdair Morrison 4,720

Bristow Muldoon 854*

Mary Mulligan 18,886

John Farquhar Munro 36,827*

Elaine Murray 32,060

Alex Neil 27,729

Hugh O'Donnell 15,546

Irene Oldfather 19,376

John Park 18,262

Gil Paterson 30,231

Peter Peacock 39,218

Cathy Peattie 17,525

Dave Petrie 500*

Mike Pringle 19,798

Jeremy Purvis 35,115

Nora Radcliffe 5,999*

George Reid 818*

John Home Robertson 1,485*

Shona Robison 21,281

Euan Robson 6,992*

Mike Rumbles 44,332

Mark Ruskell 633*

Alex Salmond 22,108

Mary Scanlon 36,648

Eleanor Scott 185*

John Scott 36,341

Tavish Scott 54,434

Tommy Sheridan 4,196*

Richard Simpson 25,822

Elaine Smith 25,536

Liz Smith 19,442

Iain Smith 23,667

Margaret Smith 14,785

Shirley-Anne Somerville 11,929

Nicol Stephen 43,359

Stewart Stevenson 25,090.47

Dave Stewart 41,474.17

Jamie Stone 42,220.28

Nicola Sturgeon 22,770.83

John Swinburne 703.01*

John Swinney 28,646.13

Dave Thompson 28,655.85

Jim Tolson 20,599.09

Murray Tosh 1,944.28*

Jean Turner 94.58*

Stefan Tymkewycz 4,083.74*

Jim Wallace 2,455.95

Maureen Watt 17,712.77

Andrew Welsh 33,917.42

Sandra White 22,812.95

Karen Whitefield 23,988.37

David Whitton 27,715.84

Allan Wilson 9,205.55

Bill Wilson 16,821.65

John Wilson 12,499.79

Total 10,250,471**

*Stopped being an MSP in 2007

**Includes above MSP expenses plus extra staff costs not itemised under individual MSPs because of data protection which prevents individual salaries being revealed.

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