A WEST FIFE MSP is hoping to lead by example by not claiming for travel expenses – “because none of my constituents would be paid to get to their place of work”.

The Scottish Parliament has released figures for MSPs’ parliamentary expenses for 2014/15, which has revealed that Cowdenbeath MSP Alex Rowley has not put in for any personal travel claims.

Mr Rowley, who won the seat in January, put in for £9172, which included £1405 for office decoration and two months of £1750 each for rent.

Of his decision not to claim for travel expenses, he said, “My place of work is in the constituency and in Edinburgh.

“I take the view that none of my constituents would be paid to get to their place of work.

“If people were travelling from Kelty to Glenrothes to work they wouldn’t get paid for that.

“I just take the view that many of my constituents work in the capital and have to pay the cost of getting there, so I will do likewise.” The Labour MSP’s staff travel claims, however, totalled £334 – but he explained it was for one Edinburgh-based member of staff travelling to Cowdenbeath during the summer recess.

He continued, “I have two members of staff based in Cowdenbeath and the third is in Edinburgh.

“During the summer recess I spend most of my time working in the constituency and have him come over to work.

“The member of staff is being treated the same as in any other place of work – if you were based in Dunfermline and were asked to go to an office in Edinburgh, you would get expenses for that.” Mr Rowley will be putting up the details of his expenses on his website, www.alexrow ley.org.

He said, “I have no personal expenses that come to me direct but we run up expenses because we’re there to provide a service for people.

“In terms of me personally gaining from expenses, I think that’s unacceptable.

“Politicians are viewed as being at it all the time and that they are greedy but I think I have a responsibility to explain to people where the money is going.

“The key thing for me is that I can look any constituent in the eye and explain any costs I incur doing my job and be sure that I am not expecting anything more or less than any person I represent.

“Most of all I think it is crucial that we bring about full transparency for all expenses claimed by politicians and that is why I am using the material published by the Scottish Parliament on expenses and giving more detail on this on my website.” Dunfermline Labour MSP Cara Hilton put in for £5953, including four 90p reimbursements for travel between the Kingsgate and New Row to the office.

Most of her claims were for rail and motor travel, with the largest amounts – five months of £489 each – going on office rent.

Of the seven Mid-Scotland and Fife MSPs, Willie Rennie (Lib Dem) claimed £4205, of which £1339 was for travel, including £336 on an Edinburgh-London return flight. He also claimed £867 for five months of newspapers.

Richard Simpson (Labour) put in for £7696, including £741 on Edinburgh hotel accommodation.

Labour’s Claire Baker and Jayne Baxter claimed £5016 and £3963 respectively, with each reimbursed £1448 for council tax.

Murdo Fraser (Conservative) claimed £7165; Annabelle Ewing (SNP) £5135; and Elizabeth Smith (Conservative) £5740.

A complete list of expenses can be found on the Scottish Parliament website at www.scottish.parliament.uk.