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Labour MSP makes expense claim for 3-mile commute in Edinburgh

Just one Member of the Scottish Parliament claimed expenses for travelling by bike to Holyrood last year, according to expenses records.

Claudia Beamish, a South of Scotland MSP, claimed £7.20 for cycling from her Edinburgh base to Holyrood, taking advantage of the 20p per mile allowance.

In contrast, other MSPs claimed £240,000 in mileage for using their cars.

Ms Beamish cycled her three mile journey twelve times over the last year, according to records of MSPs’ expenses for the last financial year, 2014/15.

She told the Herald: "For me it is by far the best way of travelling around Edinburgh but there are costs associated with it.

"As co-convenor of the parliament's cross party group on cycling I am clear that we need a range of initiatives for safe cycling to be taken up by more people."

She added: "Cycling is now more popular than ever and investment in new cycle lanes for example is welcome but long overdue.

"Cycling education in schools is essential. "However it will only really work when there is an integrated travel approach so that cyclists can take their bikes on public transport."

Just four MSPs used Edinburgh's new tram system, spending £54.50 between them on tickets.

It’s not the first time Claudia Beamish has spoken out on cycling issues.

Last spring, we reported on Edinburgh’s Pedal on Parliament event, where Ms Beamish said: “I’m a rural cyclist who’s experienced how terrifying urban cycling can be.

“I have to keep getting off and walking – this situation needs to change. We need transformational change. I will push strict liability with my party.

“I want to emphasise that it’s about how the infrastructure is designed but segregated tracks along busy roads – it shouldn’t just be lines on the roads. It’s about a good quality of life for the whole of Scotland urban and and rural.”

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.