08/12/2011 08:11 GMT

Expenses Claims From MSPs Increase

MSPs claimed £11.8 million in expenses last year, up 1.6% on the previous year, new figures show.

The total of £11,849,399 in 2010-11 is £186,801 higher than the previous year's total of almost £11.7 million.

The Scottish Parliament said the expenses claims represent a real-terms reduction because the increase is lower than the rate of inflation.

The figures cover the financial year to March, just before the last Holyrood election, meaning that many MSPs covered by the latest statistics are no longer at parliament.

Party leaders' allowance claims fell from £44,651 to £39,829, a difference of £4,822.

Stationery and postage spending dropped by £97 from £471,393 to £471,296. Claims excluding postage, stationery and leaders' allowances came to £11.3 million, up £191,720 from about £11.1 million.

A Scottish Parliament spokesman said: "This year's total expenditure shows a 1.6% increase on last year's figures. With RPI standing at 5.3% and CPI at 4.0% over the same period, this is a significant real-terms reduction in expenditure by MSPs when carrying out their parliamentary duties."

First Minister Alex Salmond claimed £20,195.47 in his role as MSP for Gordon. He spent £3,992.45 on travel costs, including rail, bus and car mileage, and £6,499.92 on office rents.

Labour leader Iain Gray spent £18,985.77. The East Lothian MSP claimed £107 apiece for two overnight stays in nearby Edinburgh and £146.88 for a night in Westminster's Park Plaza Hotel shortly after the UK general election.

Former Conservative leader Annabel Goldie spent £12,116.83. She spent £3,223.19 on newspaper advertising, more than all four other party leaders put together. The West of Scotland MSP also spent £1,833.00 on overnight stays in Edinburgh.