Friday, October 27, 2006

If you want real value for money, vote Sinn Fein!

The Times reported yesterday that Falkirk's Labour MP, Eric Joyce, was the most expensive in Britain. Mr Joyce racked up a total of £175,000 worth of expense claims (including travel costs, office staff costs and other such things). The paper also listed several other prominent MPs (including Messrs Blair, Cameron and Campbell) with their overall expense claims.

This is all well and good, but I think a fairer analysis of the value for money should assess the cost of the MP divided by the number of constituents. So I have done some calculations.

The total cost of MPs expenses last year was £86,779,772. Divide this by 646 constituencies (in the 2005 election) and the average expense total is £134,334.

The total number of votes cast in the 2005 election was 27,110,727 - on a turnout of 61.3%. This gives a total number of constituents (not including children, prisoners, life peers etc) of 44,236,308. Divide this by 646 and you have an average of 68,462 constituents per MP.

So the average cost of expenses for an MP per constituent is £134,334/68,462 = £1.96

I don't have the energy or time to calculate all individual averages, but I thought I'd look at some interesting ones. Eric Joyce's expenses per head are above average at £2.28, but much less than those of Angus McNeil, SNP member for the least populated constituency, which are a whopping £5.24. By contrast, Andrew Turner on the Isle of Wight (the most populous constituency) costs a mere £1.22 per head. However, the clear winners in the value stakes are Sinn Fein's MPs (not even a biro listed in their stationery costs), with Pat Doherty only costing 63p per person.

I've tabulated the results below, and thrown in my hometown MP, Theresa May, too. It seems she's a lot cheaper than her shoes.

MP Total Expenses Constituents Cost per person
Eric Joyce, Falkirk, LAB £174,811 76,762 £2.28
Andrew Turner, IOW, CON £132,208 109,042 £1.22
Angus McNeil, Western Isles, SNP £113,101 21,585 £5.24
Pat Doherty, West Tyrone, SF £38,049 60,398 £0.63
Theresa May, Maidenhead, CON £96,241 63,947 £1.51
Average £134,334 68,462 £1.96

If you want to look at the figures more closely, try this webpage or download a sortable Excel sheet from the Times. Election results available here.

1 comment:

windswept and interesting said...

So the harsh climes of the East were too much for you, were they? Or was it the Mafia? Ah well, glad you're happy WestSide, homie (sp?).
Though it seems to me that you have far too much time on your hands - either that or you should be working for Private Eye...

At the risk of sounding suspiciously Orwellian, keep the tail wagging...