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26 July 2010: Press Release Consultation announcements

IPSA has today set out how details of MPs’ expenses will be published and made changes to rules to allow MPs to pay incidental expenses to interns.  The announcement follows two separate consultations conducted in June and July.  A further consultation outcome on the powers and processes of the new Compliance Officer was also published today.

Publication of claims

IPSA has now received and analysed the responses to its proposals about how to publish expense claims, and has announced that it will publish the following information.

  • All expenses claims – paid or refused – after the MP has been notified of the outcome.
  • An anonymous list of MPs’ staff paid from public funds, at least annually, listed in terms of their job function, including salaries expressed in ranges of £5,000 (no staff members, including connected parties, will have their exact salary published). Names of staff will not be included. However, IPSA will publish names of connected parties employed by MPs and paid from the public purse.
  • The date, origin and destination of MPs’ journeys claimed from the taxpayer. However, IPSA will not publish the time the journey was made.
  • The first alphabetical block and the first numerical block of the postcode of MPs’ addresses (eg OX1, rather than the full postcode).
  • The amounts claimed under the security budget for the House of Commons as a whole, not any details relating to individual MPs. Standard security measures such as alarms on offices are not met from this budget, and IPSA would publish this expenditure by MPs, but not information about the provider or product.
  • The amounts claimed under the disability budget for the House of Commons as a whole, not any details relating to individual MPs.

The first batch of claims will be published after the House has returned in September.

While MPs get used to the new online system, we will allow a period of grace until 10 September, during which submitted claims which are not allowed will be returned to MPs for them to correct, with an explanation of why the claim is not allowed. Claims returned to MPs during this period will not be routinely published.

This approach will be taken unless there has been a clear attempt to transgress the rules. In this situation the claim will be refused and published. After this period of grace, all refused claims will be published as outlined above.

The publication procedures published today will become effective once the relevant sections of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 are commenced by the Government.

Changes to the scheme

The results of the consultation on changes to the scheme have also been released today. These changes address anomalies in the scheme and include provisions to allow:

  • MPs who own their property but who are not claiming mortgage interest subsidy  will be allowed to claim for associated expenditure;
  • where more than one MP travels in the same car, only one of the MPs will be able to submit a claim for the cost of each journey;
  • Members may claim reimbursement of the costs of an evening meal (excluding alcoholic drinks), only where they are required to be at the House of Commons because the House is sitting beyond 7:30pm, but this meal does not need to be eaten on the Parliamentary estate; and
  • MPs may submit claims for the incidental expenses of interns and volunteers if they meet the conditions set out in paragraph 8.7 of the scheme.

The online system will be updated to support these changes on the 16 August, and claims can be backdated to 7 May.

New appointment

IPSA has today also announced the appointed of Anne Power, currently Deputy Chief Press Officer at the FCO, as its Director of Communications. She will join IPSA in September.