Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Thursday, 22 January 2009

Decrease in MSPs' expenses bill

Scottish Parliament building
The level of expenses claimed was affected by the Holyrood election

The level of expenses claimed by MSPs has gone down, according to the latest figures released by parliament chiefs.

They claimed 10.25m on travel, accommodation, staff and office costs in the year to the end of March 2008, 10,000 less than the previous year.

Scottish Lib Dem leader Tavish Scott was the highest claimant, with 54,434, although he represents the far-flung Shetland constituency.

Independent Margo Macdonald claimed the least amount, 1,960.

Ms Macdonald - a Lothian list MSP - lives in Edinburgh and operates solely out of her office in the Scottish Parliament building.

The drop in the overall bill was partly put down to the 2007 Holyrood election campaign, during which parliament was dissolved.

Tory Highlands and Islands list MSP Jamie McGrigor was the second highest claiming member, with a total of 44,564, followed by Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles, who represents West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, whose claims came to 44,332.

MSPs currently earn 55,381, with ministers and officeholders earning a further salary on top.

Scottish Parliament bosses also said the last election, where some MSPs lost their seats, would see an increase in some types of allowances, such as winding-up costs.

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