BARNSLEY MP’s CLAIMS; Staffing, Office, Travel & Accommodation.

The expenses of our local MPs; Dan Jarvis, Michael Dugher, Angela Smith & John Healey. Information based on an article in the Barnsley Chronicle 18th September 2015.

2013-14 Total for all four = £710,583.22

2014-15 Total for all four = £743,164.28 an overall increase of £32,581.06 or 4.6%.

This equates to almost £510 per day!

Dan Jarvis ranked 3rd of the four, however he was the only one who lowered his claims overall, the other 3 all increased their claims.

  • Dugher by almost £7,000 or 4%
  • Healey by £2,732 or 1.4%
  • Smith by just short of £25,000 or almost 14%.

Jarvis whilst an MP for the period has the lowest staffing costs of the four.

Lowest travel costs at just short of £5,000 which is 43% below those of Smith and almost £7,000 lower than those of Healey.

To complete the picture, office costs;

Dugher’s are the most competitive at £16,500, Smith’s ranked next at £17,800, Jarvis at £22,400 and Healey £23,000. All the other three increased their expenses i.e.

  • Dougher £ 6,922                       almost             4% increase
  • Smith             £24,410                                   13% increase
  • Healey             £ 2,733                                    4% increase

*Figures rounded up to the nearest £.

On average the bill as compared to 2012/13 rose by £32,581 or 4.6%.

*In other words more than double the rate of inflation over the same period.

During the same period many working people have had to endure far less percentage increases in their wage packet, indeed many have received pay freezes. Some have had decreases enforced upon them by ruthless employers.

Those on welfare and benefits have seen their meagre entitlements dwindle and disappear. It should not be forgotten that MP’s are paid by the public purse just like any other worker in the Public Sector, how many of them collectively increased their income by 4.6%?

Had Dugher, Smith and Healey managed their expenses in a similar fashion as Jarvis, there would have been a saving of well over £34,500.

If you further analyse their expenses on an itemised basis you can determine that there are fluctuations on;

  • Accommodation ranges from £13,719 for Dugher to £20,600 for Smith.
  • Office costs range from £16,500 for Dugher again to £23,100 for Healey.

There may be perfectly good reasons for these variances, location, rental, leasing, size, running costs and rent of premises.

  • Travel shows wide and significantly differing costs, Jarvis by far away the most economical, his are below £5,000, Dugher’s are £1,936 above whilst Smiths are £6,500 and Healey’s £6,900 which are more than twice those of Jarvis.

It would be interesting to hear the explanation as to why one can travel from South Yorkshire at more than half the cost of 2 of the others.

*All figures rounded marginal differences in money/percentage terms.

  • Staffing there are only marginal differences between Jarvis, Smith and Healey i.e. £138,000, Dugher’s is marginally above at £141,700.

Each of the MP’s employs their spouses which is permissible i.e.

  • Angela Smith employs her husband Steve Wilson full time as Senior Parliament Assistant who is paid between £35,000 and £40,000.
  • John Healey employs his wife Jackie Bate part time as Office Manager and paid between £10,000 and £15,000.
  • Dan Jarvis employs his wife Rachel Jarvis part time as Senior Secretary and paid between £5,000 and £10,000.
  • The MP for Barnsley East Michael Dugher employs his wife Joanne part time in the capacity of Office Manager. However when it comes to her salary she is paid by her husband between £35,000 and £40,000.

All my calculations will be based on the above salary level i.e. the mid points between the salary levels e.g. between £5,000 and £10,000 = £7,500, between £10,000 and £15,000 = £12,500, and between £35,000 and £40,000 = £37,500.

I have assumed that a full time worker works 40 hours and a part time worker works 21 hours.

To determine what the respective MP’s hired helpers are paid on an hourly and monthly basis I have applied my assumptions above and I have tabulated them below.

MP & Spouse Weekly Hrs. Monthly Hrs. Annual Hrs. Hourly Rate Monthly Rate
Michael Dugher Joanne 21 84 1,008 £37.20 £3,125
SmithSteve Wilson 40 160 1,920 £19.50 £3,125
HealeyJackie Bate 21 84 1,008 £12.40 £1,041
JarvisRachael Jarvis 21 84 1,008 £7.40 £625
TOTALS 103 412 4,944

The remuneration packages of the respective MP’s spouses are determined by their respective husband (Angela Smith) in her case and by the other MP’s for their wives.

The hours worked are in the main part time with one exception i.e. Steve Wilson works full time. However when you turn to the financial rewards they are significantly different.

i.e. Dugher’s spouse Joanne receives £37.20 per hour.

This is;

£29.80 more than Jarvis’s wife on £7.40.

£17.70 more than Smith’s husband for full time on £19.50.

£24.80 more than Healey’s wife on £12.40.

If you take the salary paid to the Barnsley East MP’s part time Office Manager £37,500, an hourly rate of £37.20 (21 hours per week).

The rate of £37.20 per hour is £2.10p less than that of the cumulative total of the other three Barnsley MP’s who have a total hourly rate of £39.30.

It should also be remembered that all the “gang of four” abstained from voting against the Tories Austerity Programme and its consequences have a greater impact on those on the lower scale of the earnings league. Let’s look at the millions at the bottom of the league, those on the National Minimum Wage (NMW).

The rate for the NMW at the time of analysis is £6.70.

The difference in hourly rates are very alarming they bear no resemblance to the way in which the Labour MP’s pay their spouses, although to be completely fair, Jarvis is the closest to the NMW i.e. 70 pence above but that is just short of 10.5%. Nearest to the so called “living wage” which is to be phased in over a period of 3 years. It should be remembered that it is the Conservatives that are responsible for the introduction of the Living Wage; Labour should hang their head in shame.

N.B. The Gang of Four are members of the Labour Opposition.

If you calculate on a numerical comparison i.e. 4 MP’s spouses and 4 workers on the NMW, it shows in stark reality the differences in both remuneration and the hours needed to receive that reward.

Total pay per. Hr. monthly Total Hrs. worked monthly
 4 Labour MP’s spouses £76.50 412
4 workers on NMW £26.80 640

So those on the NMW receive an hourly remuneration that is £49.70 less than MP’s spouses.

Equally to receive their pay they work 228 hours per month more or 2,736 hours per annum.

 It appears a fairly common practice for MP’s to employ their spouses in various administrative capacities. However is it morally acceptable? Could some of those positions be both occupied and performed by any of their respective constituents?   Some of which may be in receipt of low pay or even on NMW!

My final comparison is how much do MP’s spouses receive more than those on the NMW n.b. I have already highlighted Dan Jarvis’s (see page 2 Para. 3) case, the other three are listed below.

John Healey                 £5.70 more per hour than NMW.

Angela Smith               £12.80 more per hour than the NMW.

Michael Dugher          £30.50 more per hour than the NMW.

Anyone who receives £6.70 per. Hr. (NMW) gets £13,900 per. Annum; if they equally work part time they receive £7,316.

Examples

Angela Smith Penistone full time (40 hrs.) Parliamentary Assistant receives £37,500.

It will take anyone on the NMW over 2 years to earn the above.

Michael Dugher Barnsley East part time Office Manager receives £37,500.

Which is £23,600 more than a part time worker on NMW. Indeed he/she would have to work over 5 years to earn the equivalent of £37,500.

I need to draw this analysis to some kind of conclusion and before doing so it should be remembered that I have only had the financial information and statistics of the four MP’s for the Barnsley area. There are well over 600 MP’s, what are their individual staffing costs, travel expenses, salary arrangements, employment practices, Annual year on year increments? Are there any different Party Political Policies? Would there be any cost savings to be made if you examined the whole political spectrum? More pertinently would those savings make a contribution to the national Deficit?

Well it certainly would and also demonstrate to the millions of ordinary working people and their families and those who are unfortunate to be in receipt of benefits, because they are the people who are having to bear the brunt of the Austerity Drive. The current Prime Minister, his Chancellor and the whole Cabinet are quick to tell the general public;

“We are all in this together”

Well are we? Not according to this analysis of the Barnsley MP’s. Indeed let’s not forget that all MP’s were recently bequeathed a £10,000 Annual Increase to their salary. For the 649 members who sit in the House of Commons that’s just marginally short of £6,500,000. That’s an ironic coincidence; £6,500,000 is over 50% of the proposed targeted cut to the Welfare Budget.

Well my Right Honourable friends a more appropriate description can be taken from the Bible.

“Physician heal thyself”

Barnsley Chronicle article: Barnsley Chronicle