19th Aug, 2019

MP defends claiming expenses for using bike

Laura Kearns 14th May, 2019

MP Matt Western has defended claiming expenses for riding his bike.

The Warwick and Leamington MP claimed £8.60 for cycling to meetings and events around the constituency – around 20p per mile.

But the MP has hit out at critics who said he should not be claiming expenses for using his bike after the story made national newspaper headlines.

Mr Western said he was encouraged by parliament to claim for cycling – to pay for wear and tear and maintenance – and was hoping others would follow his lead and be more environmentally-friendly by using pedal-power.

He said: “Constituents say they’re delighted I’m so visible and that I’m leading by example, cycling around our towns whenever possible. In fact I cycle a lot as it is better for people’s health and easier for me in terms of parking.

“It’s better for the environment, helps contribute to reducing congestion on our roads and better for the taxpayer.

“But it is also important as the expenses log is the only place where your constituency visits are registered.”

And he is calling on other MPs to ditch their cars and jump in the saddle – and claim for it.

He added: “Claiming for miles cycled is legitimate and encouraged.

“I would encourage more MPs to do this and practice what they preach after the discussions we have had on the climate emergency in recent weeks.

“The more representatives we have in parliament who live and breathe their own values – the better.”

And Green Party Warwickshire county councillor Jonathan Chilvers – who cycles around 1,000 miles a year – says parliament’s rates were in line with the council’s and most businesses.

He told the Observer: “Bikes have wear-and-tear and maintenance costs in the same way that cars do.

“20p a mile is a fair rate used by many businesses and is still considerably cheaper to the tax payer than going by car at 45p per mile.

“Credit to Matt Western if he’s biking to constituency events.”


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