Office swap MSPs send us a £2680 decorators' bill

MSPs have been playing musical offices in Glasgow, and sending the decorators' bills to the tax payer.

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Sandra White, Kelvin SNP MSP, rented a shop in Argyle Street during the 2011 election campaign.

After the vote she moved out and later in the year Ruth Davidson, newly elected as a Conservative MSP, took over the premises as her Glasgow constituency office.

Ms Davidson then spent £2080 on internal refurbishments, claimed on her parliamentary expenses.

Ms White used the office as her base to finally defeat Labour's Pauline McNeill after several failed attempts.

Having lost her seat Ms McNeill had to vacate her office, just a few hundred yards away also in Argyle Street.

A few months later Ms White decided to rent Ms McNeill's old office and had the front repainted at a cost of £600, also claimed on expenses.

The decorators' bills are revealed in the latest MSPs' expenses report, which showed Glasgow's 16 MSPs claimed almost £300,000 in 2011/12.

The main items are travel, overnight hotel stays in Edinburgh and office costs.

The claims ranged from £24,266, from Green MSP Patrick Harvie, to £9751, from Labour MSP Drew Smith.

Ms Davidson's expenses also included £148 in June 2011, for MSP staff training entitled "dealing with difficult people".

No Glasgow MSPs featured in the top ten claimants, and Drew Smith was in the lowest ten

Labour's Anne McTaggart was also one of the less expensive MSPs, claiming just over £10,000, included £141 for books

One book she purchased was called, Public Speaking and Presentation for Dummies.

The total bill for all Glasgow MSPs included £7500 for hotel stays in the capital, and £7600 on travel.

The bill for the winding up expenses of the seven former Glasgow MSPs who left in May totalled £26,658.

The total bill for MSPs' expenses and allowances was £12.8m, which is an increase of almost £1m, but includes almost £1.5m in winding down costs for 48 MSPs who left the parliament at the election.

Excluding those costs, the bill was down half a million pounds.

The biggest claim was made by Orkney Islands MSP Liam McArthur, with a total of just over £52,878.

The MSP with the smallest claim was Annabelle Ewing, regional list MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, with £3459.

stewart.paterson@ eveningtimes.co.uk

MSPs' Expenses 2011/2012

Patrick Harvie (Green) £24,266

Sandra White (SNP) £23,839

James Dornan (SNP) £23,028

Paul Martin (Lab) £22,408

Nicola Sturgeon (SNP) £21,716

Ruth Davidson (Cons) £20,440

Particia Ferguson (Lab) £20,037

Bill Kidd (SNP) £19,421

Bob Doris (SNP) £19,268

Johann Lamont (Lab) £17,831

John Mason (SNP) £16,989

Humza Yousaf (SNP) £16,631

James Kelly (Lab) £16,409

Hanzala Malik (Lab) £12,872

Anne McTaggart (Lab) £10,773

Drew Smith (Lab) £9751

Finance

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