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The cost of politics rises to £650m under Labour

The Sunday Times highlights some key findings from Michael Pinto-Duschinsky, an expert on political finance and senior research fellow in politics at Brunel University:

  • "Payments to politicians and advisers now cost taxpayers nearly £650m a year and have been rising faster than inflation."
    "MPs’ expenses rose to £109m in the year to April 2009, an increase of 5.7%."
  • "Only the House of Lords showed restraint. Expenses and administration costs received by the 706 peers entitled to claim fell 14% to £104m last year."
  • "State funding of the regional assemblies rose by several times the rate of inflation last year. Parties at Stormont received £787,000 from the taxpayer last year, 17% more than in 2007-8. The Northern Ireland assembly now employs 485 staff — an increase of 100 in two years. At Holyrood “short money”, the term used to describe public money paid to opposition parties, increased 8% on the previous year to more than £521,000... Expense and administration spending by members of the Scottish parliament rose 8.7% to nearly £11m."

David Cameron has promised a 10% cut in the number of MPs and a 5% cut in ministers' pay.

Tim Montgomerie