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MPs claim pounds 46m more than before; FULL REPORT AND REACTION: SEE MAIL SPORT Watchdog can't halt gravy train.

Byline: Vincent Moss

MPs' expenses have soared by more than pounds 46million this year, new figures reveal.

A Commons watchdog, set up to restore confidence in politicians after the expenses scandal, have received claims by MPs adding up to a massive pounds 164.7million.

The rise comes after rules were relaxed on travel, hotels and spending on staff.

The cost of MPs' pay and expenses was pounds 118million last year. But despite politicians' salaries being frozen, the total for this year is now due to be nearly pounds 47million higher.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority slipped out news of the rise in a new estimate updating their cash needs.

The expenses bill only covered the 11 months after the May 2010 general election. It included "golden goodbyes" for departing MPs and spending on the winding up of their offices.

The rise in expenses can be revealed after it was confirmed last week that MPs' pay will be frozen at pounds 65,738 until at least 2013.

Advisers also recommended that MPs increase their pension contributions by 1.85per cent.

The Government estimate the change will save taxpayers pounds 700,000 a year.

IPSA were created in 2009 after the expenses scandal. One of their main aims was to try to restore public confidence in politicians.

Ex-Labour MP Jim Devine was jailed last year after being found guilty of making pounds 8385 worth of false expenses claims.

He was released from prison last August just four months into a 16-month sentence.

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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 12, 2012
Words:254
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