AN MSP today blamed an administrative error after claiming £59.43 of taxpayers’ money for an office cafetiere.
Edinburgh Southern SNP MSP Jim Eadie said the expenses claim for a chrome eight-cup cafetiere had been submitted by a member of staff without his knowledge – though he said it was for only £19.81, a third of the price shown in the official records. Details of Holyrood politicians’ expenses for 2012-13 published by the Scottish Parliament show Mr Eadie with the highest expenses claims of any Edinburgh or Lothian MSP.
But after the Evening News approached him about the cafetiere, he said he would refund that money to the parliament.
He said: “It is a legitimate expense for providing staff and visitors with coffee, but I feel that should come out of my pocket, not the parliament’s.”
He said he had seen a cafetiere in the office and assumed it had been donated by a member of staff.
Mr Eadie said the cafetiere was ordered through Office Depot, a supplier which has a contract with the parliament, but it had arrived damaged and had to be returned on three occasions.
“It was purchased for £19.81 but an administrative error by Office Depot led to it being shown at three times the price,” he said.
Meanwhile, Edinburgh Central SNP MSP Marco Biagi’s claims included £21.98 for sonic mouse deterrents and 55p for a “hand-held moistener”.
Mr Biagi said: “My office ordered a batch of stationery and supplies online, including a packet of moisteners to help staff seal large numbers of envelopes, and parliamentary accounts have for some reason separated them out and listed them on their own.
“The mouse repellent was due to sightings at the constituency office, which fortunately have not since been repeated.”
Altogether, the 18 MSPs covering Edinburgh and the Lothians claimed a total of £214,586 last year, slightly down from £219,530 the previous year.
Mr Eadie said one reason his claim was higher than other MSPs was that his constituency office in Morningside did not qualify for zero business rates under the government’s Small Business Bonus, as some MSPs’ offices did.
In 2009, Midlothian Labour MSP Rhona Brankin and SNP Livingston MSP Angela Constance both paid back money to the parliament after the Evening News revealed they had used their expenses to claim for Remembrance Day wreaths. Another 13 MSPs later followed suit.
MSPs claims: Last Year - This year
• Jim Eadie SNP Edinburgh Southern: £18,026.03 - £19,401.14
• Iain Gray Lab East Lothian: £18,918.10 - £18,873.76
• Christine Grahame SNP Midlothian South: £13,227.81 - £18,873.76
• Kenny MacAskill SNP Edinburgh Eastern: £17,324.0 - £18,418.79
• Gordon MacDonald SNP Edinburgh Pentlands: £16,342.88 - £16,665.24
• Angela Constance SNP Almond Valley: £17,552.66 - £15,498.41
• Fiona Hyslop SNP Linlithgow: £15,036.24 - £14,664.76
• Alison Johnstone Green Lothian list: £8613.38 - £13,798.46
• Colin Keir SNP Edinburgh Western: £12,416.68 - £13,624.85
• Colin Beattie SNP Midlothian North & Musselburgh: £16,376.88 - £11,964.50
• Malcolm Chisholm Lab Edinburgh Northern & Leith: £8092.72 - £10,575.27
• Neil Findlay Lab Lothian list: £9531.32 - £9971.83
• Marco Biagi SNP Edinburgh Central: £14,180.37 - £9447.42
• Sarah Boyack Lab Lothian list: £8868.74 - £8754.29
• David McLetchie Con Lothian list: £11,097.23 - £5070.70
• Kezia Dugdale Lab Lothian list: £5742.50 - £3990.62
• Gavin Brown Con Lothian list: £4749.16 - £3801.68
• Margo MacDonald Independent Lothian list: £3655.75 - £2626.64