Inverclyde MP Ronnie Cowan defends above average spending

SNP’s Ronnie Cowan made expense claims totaling tens of thousands of pounds more than average in the last full fiscal year while serving as a member of Parliament for Inverclyde.

Mr Cowan claimed more than the typical amount paid to other MPs for each of the 11 months between May 2019 and March 2020.

Mr Cowan’s total expenditure of £ 216,756 for fiscal year 2019/20 – which included additional staff recruitment during Covid – was £ 56,875 above the average amount.

His office staff bill for the year was £ 144,912, he claimed £ 20,872 for travel and £ 19,809 to cover accommodation costs.

Mr Cowan today acknowledged that the overall salaries of his staff may be higher than those of other MPs, but said those around him are “being paid appropriately”.

The MP added: “If a voter wishes to meet with me to discuss any aspect of my expenses and staff costs, I am more than happy to welcome them.”

In May 2019 alone, Mr Cowan’s expense bill of £ 17,221 was £ 12,283 higher than the average figure for other MPs of £ 4,938.

In the month the UK was plunged into lockdown in March last year, Mr Cowan claimed £ 149,816 (a figure including annual staff costs), £ 27,155 more than the average figure of £ 122,661.

The MP said: “I have always ensured that my staff are paid appropriately for the work they do.

“That and the fact that I have managed to keep a full complement of staff may have resulted in a higher payroll than some other offices.

“I am the only one who knows the dedication, professionalism and commitment they have to the community of Inverclyde, and they often work overtime to make sure my constituents receive the best possible service, often in very difficult circumstances.

“During Covid, I hired an additional social worker who reflects the demands of the office to maintain the high standards we have set.

“My expenses and personnel costs are common knowledge and are visible to all since they are correctly declared.”

Mr. Cowan added that the word “expenses” was a misleading term.

He told the Telegraph: ‘These are costs to run the office and get me to Westminster.

“These are not expenses that end up in my pocket.”

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Breakdown of MP Ronnie Cowan’s expenses (with average for all MPs)

May 2019: claimed £ 17,221.81 (average £ 4,938.17)

June 2019: claimed £ 5,297.66 (average £ 4,023.50)

July 2019: claimed £ 8,680.94 (average £ 4,621.56)

August 2019: claimed £ 4,589.24 (average £ 2,977.64)

September 2019: claimed £ 3,808.21 (average £ 3,579.94)

October 2019: claimed £ 6,855.35 (average £ 4,130.14)

November 2019: claimed £ 4,196.04 (average £ 3,029.09)

December 2019: claimed £ 3,939.01 (average £ 2,396.48)

January 2020: claimed £ 5,724.45 (average £ 3,095.43)

February 2020: claimed £ 5,570.06 (average £ 3,370.20)

March 2020: claimed £ 149,816.31 (average £ 122,661.22).


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