MPs' Second Home Expenses Down By A Third

But 'London Allowance' payments rise by more than 400%

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Watchdog says Keens wrongly claimed money from second home allowance

The Brentford and Isleworth constituency

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Latest Government figures show that MPs' Expense claims for second homes have fallen by more than a third.

According to House of Commons data the cost of MPs' second homes to the taxpayer was £6.8 million in 2009/10, down from £10.7 million the previous year, reveals.

Allowances also fell to £90.7million overall, from £95.6million. But the new London allowance payments for MPs who live within 20 miles of Westminster rose from £148,904 in 2008/9 to £676,248 in 2009/10.

Figures for the "golden goodbyes" for former MPs like Ann Keen have not yet been published.

It was a year ago this month that then MPs Alan and Ann Keen were ordered to repay £1,500 after a Government watchdog ruled that they wrongly claimed money from the second home allowance.

According to the Commons Standards and Privileges Committee, the couple were not entitled to make the expense claims because their Westminster apartment had, in effect, become their main home.

Although the Committee found that the Keens had made claims they were not entitled to, they said that the couple should not have to repay all the money because the Commons authorities told them twice their arrangements were acceptable.

Commenting at the time Ann and Alan Keen said, “We accept in full the verdict of the Committee, and are grateful that the members acknowledge the strong mitigating circumstances in our case”.

March 3, 2011