Readers of the Scottish Daily Mail would no doubt be outraged (aren't they always?) this week to be told in a front page banner headline that South of Scotland Labour Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) Claudia Beamish was charging taxpayers 60 pence for cycling to and from Holyrood.
In its usual fair and balanced coverage of all things political in Scotland, the Mail went to town on Ms Beamish for legitimately claiming 20 pence a mile for biking to work. The money would just about cover the cost of oiling the chain of her bicycle and having the machine regularly checked by a reputable dealership.
So how did the elected members with offices in the Scottish Borders fare in the allowances stakes during 2016/17.
Not Just Sheep & Rugby decided to publish the statistics without 'slamming' or praising anyone. The residents of the South of Scotland can comment if they wish, but we will leave the editorial expressions of outrage and anger to the Mail, which does, after all, pride itself on its standards of journalism.
Here are the claims made by Borders representatives during the last financial year. The data covers a period before John Lamont decided to resign his Holyrood seat and stand (successfully) for a Westminster constituency.
John Lamont (Conservative)– office in Hawick - 2016/17 total £34,217 for 436 separate claims. Main headings: Edinburgh hotels £4,111 (35 claims); member’s travel £6,845 (224); office provision £17,775 (108); staff travel £1,627 (37); telecommunications £1,337 (14); surgery advertising £2,489 (16).
Previous years totals: 2015/16 £33,896; 2014/15 £36,785; 2013/14 £33,561; 2012/13 £30,385. FIVE YEAR TOTAL - £168,844
Christine Grahame (Scottish National Party) – office in Galashiels - 2016/17 total £19,241 for 176 claims. Edinburgh hotels 0; member’s travel £972.90 (75); office provision £16,458 (75); staff travel £220.75 (9); telecomms £688.38 (10); surgery advertising £813.25 (3).
Previous years totals: 2015/16 £19,358; 2014/15 £21,361; 2013/14 £19,997; 2012/13 £18,873. FIVE YEAR TOTAL - £98,830.
Paul Wheelhouse (Scottish National Party) – office in Hawick - 2016/17 total £16,169 for 96 claims. Edinburgh accommodation £5,933 (30); member’s travel £375 (12); office provision £9,246 (40); staff travel 0; telecomms £555.24 (13); surgery advertising 0.
Previous years totals: 2015/16 £13,332; 2014/15 £16,903; 2013/14 £18,368; 2012/13 £21,190. FIVE YEAR TOTAL - £85,962.
One other Borders politician is included in our list. Rachael Hamilton (Conservative) was elected as a list MSP for the South of Scotland in May 2016 which means her allowance claims cover a 10 month period up to March 2017.
Mrs Hamilton subsequently resigned her list seat and replaced Mr Lamont as a constituency MSP in June this year. During the period covered by the 2016/17 figures on allowances she did not have an office in the Scottish Borders.
During 2016/17 Mrs Hamilton received £13,962 for 118 separate claims.
These included Edinburgh hotels and accommodation £11,034 (17), member’s travel £1,735 (70). office costs £761 (13) for advertising, hall hire for surgeries, printing and photocopying and staff travel £78.60 (12).