Cameron claims 8p off taxpayer

Vince Cable claims 43p for scissors


Cameron calls to congratulate Obama

Would you bother claiming 11p from the taxpayer for a plastic ruler if you earned more than £100,000 a year? Or 8p for paperclips? Ken Clarke and Prime Minister David Cameron did. Business Secretary Vince Cable additionally claimed 43p for a pair of scissors.

The tiny - but revealing - details have emerged from the latest batch of MPs' expense claims that span pints of milk to paper clips. Almost 800 claims were for under £1. Petty but necessary?

Time consuming

There's some previous form from the Prime Minister. Last year, for example, David Cameron claimed 7p back - for a bulldog clip. For someone who earns £142,500 a year, did he need to claim 7p, given the costs for administering such information costs the taxpayer many times over?

Currently MPs can put in for the pint-sized cash claims if they're deemed necessary to do their job (a ban on Commons expenses on mortgage interest payments was introduced in May 2010). Clearly the scheme is ponderous and, it seems, increasingly petty.

On the flip side, many of the costs are low. 11p for a plastic ruler is cheap. Mr Clarke clearly has an eye for value (a quick scan on eBay revealed far higher prices for very ordinary stationary items). Cheryl Gillan, Conservative MP for Chesham and Amersham managed to keep her calendar costs 4p.

Damned if they do, damned if they don't.

3p for a car ride

One of the most astonishing cost claims was from ex defence secretary Liam Fox, whose office claimed 3p for a car journey of less than 100 metres in 2013 - that same year he put in a further 14 claims for car travel costs under £1.

Yet taxpayer cash and MPs' expenses continues to worry. Last year it emerged that near half of the Cabinet used tax-payers' cash to rent constituency office room from their own local parties.

Among the Tories spending tax payers money renting space, reported the Telegraph, were Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, Chris Grayling, the Justice Secretary and Francis Maude the Minister for the Cabinet Office.

Claims under 15p...

4p calendar - Cheryl Gillan, Conservative for Chesham and Amersham
11p clear plastic ruler, 12 inch - Ken Clarke, Conservative
7p pencil sharpener - Liz Kendall, Labour, Leicester West
11p paper clips - Meg Hillier, Labour Hackney South and Shoreditch
8p Rapesco Foldback clips - Nick Smith, Labour, Blaenau Gwent

Download all the latest IPSA MPs' expense here.