IPSA publishes MPs’ business costs and expenses for 2011/12
In addition to its routine publication of business costs and expenses, IPSA also publishes an annualised summary of spend by each MP. Today, we are releasing the annualised details of claims from 2011/12. Details can be found here:
As part of the routine, regular release of claims, we are also publishing claims processed in April and May 2012. This information is included in the annual summary.
Commenting on the release of the latest annual data, Sir Ian Kennedy, IPSA chair, has issued the following statement:
“Remember the old days in Parliaments of the past when your MP’s claims for business costs and expenses were published?
“Well, no. Because in the past it didn’t happen. Information wasn’t available to the public. Then we had the series of increasingly shocking newspaper reports in 2009.
“Since then a new, independent organisation – IPSA- has taken control of the issue, setting clear rules and enforcing them. And, crucially, publishing all claims every other month.
“Also, once a year, we publish exactly what every MP has spent to do their job. You can see how much is spent on staff, on renting offices, on travel and so on. And you can also see if an MP employs a family member of other ‘connected party’.
“Today, we have released this information for 2011/12. In short, we are delivering genuine openness – the kind of which was inconceivable just a few years ago.
“And what do we learn from all of the information released today? Well, as I see it, three things.
“First, the expenses scandal is behind us. Remember what it was like – report after report of MPs claiming for all sorts of things; ‘ flipping' homes; no system of scrutiny; and all this behind closed doors. That world is behind us. We have overhauled the system and the expenses scandal is clearly history.
“Second, MPs are keeping to the rules. 99% of claims are within the new rules. So it isn’t just us doing our job – MPs are behaving responsibly and claiming within the rules.
“Third, we are talking about significant sums of money. We should be clear about this. We are publishing the details of £89 million worth of costs and expenses – about the same like for like sum as last year.
“There will be some who might say ‘this is too much ‘or ‘I could do it for less’. But we should look at the issue in more depth. MPs are there to represent us. If we want to be able to see our MP, contact their staff – and it is in on MPs’ staff where most of this expense goes, visit MPs’ offices, have them write to us, represent us in Parliament, and help us with problems in the constituency, we have to face the fact that there is a cost to doing so. If we want a good service from our MPs, we have to fund them. And if you don’t think you get a good service from your MP, the answer is not to withhold funding– it is to use your vote.
“What we now have are clear, fair rules setting out what MPs can claim, with an independent regulator to govern the system, and transparency so we can all see where our money goes.
“The fact that you can go onto our website and browse the figures at your leisure is testament to how much has changed in just a couple of years.”
Notes to editor:
1. The information used for the annualised data includes all claims processed as of start of June. It is possible that an MP has since made additional claims relating to the financial year 2011/12. Any such claims will be released in future rounds of publication.
2. The annualised total we published for 2010/11 was £71m. The difference between this year’s and last is accounted for by three factors. First, there were 6 weeks in the last financial year where Parliament wasn’t formed and so there were no costs. Second, there were a number of new MPs who did not recruit staff and set up their offices immediately, so there was an additional period where these costs were not incurred. Third, we published the annualised data in July last year. After that point there was an additional £2m incurred in the financial year – this is the reason we pushed back publication of the annualised data to September this year, to give a more complete figure. On a like for like basis, the expenditure is similar to last year.
3. The spreadsheet on the publication site shows business costs and expenses in a different column from MPs’ staff costs. Business costs and expenses are in Column ‘L’, titled total spend; staffing costs are in column ‘AF’, titled staffing payroll.
4. The data is stored on the publication website by the date on which a cost is incurred. But, as a necessity of frequent publication, we add data to the publication website by the month in which a claim is processed. So, for example, if a cost was incurred in March, but the claim submitted and processed in April, it would be released in this cycle of publication but stored under March on the website.
5. Repayments are made to IPSA by MPs and third parties for a variety of reasons. These include: refunding items for which an MP no longer wishes to claim; refunding payment card transactions for which an MP does not wish to claim; and where an MP has received a rebate or refund from a third party, for example on their business rates or utility bills.
For more call Mark Anderson on 020 7811 6488.