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Review of the MPs' Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses

Each year we conduct a review of the Scheme of MPs' Business Costs and Expenses ('the Scheme').

The most recent consultation ran until 24 October 2016. This was the first consultation on the MPs' Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (the Scheme) since the May 2015 General Election. It was an opportunity to establish for the rest of this Parliament how we regulate MPs’ spending of public funds and how we support MPs in carrying out their parliamentary activities. The review addressed IPSA’s strategic aim, which is to assure the public that MPs’ use of taxpayers’ money is well regulated and that MPs are resourced appropriately to carry out their parliamentary functions.

The new Scheme, which takes effect from 1 April 2017 recognises MPs’ compliance, simplifies some of our rules, supports MPs in their demanding roles, and continues to provide good value for money to the taxpayer. It will also make MPs’ compliance and public scrutiny easier and more effective. A summary of all the changes can be found at Annex B of the consultation report.

In November 2014, we consulted on a small number of changes to the rules ahead of the General Election in May 2015. We believe that these changes will help to ensure that the rules remain fair, workable and transparent into the new Parliament.  

The main areas covered in the review conducted in 2013 include: election expenditure; reward and recognition payments for MPs’ staff; and MPs’ engagement of volunteers.

The 2012 Review was narrower in focus and only minor adjustments are being considered. We concentrates on MPs’ accommodation and travel costs, mindful of the need to control costs, while conscious of the need to provide MPs with the support they require to carry out their parliamentary functions. Further, in the light of public concern, we asked whether MPs should be prevented from renting accommodation from other current MPs.

The focus of the review conducted in November 2011 was on staffing, and the consultation posed specific questions about IPSA’s role with regard to MPs’ staff and how much involvement we should have in their individual staffing arrangements. It reviewed the staffing budget, the work which IPSA funds staff members to carry out, and the distinction between party political and parliamentary activity.

The consultation also asked whether London Area and non-London Area MPs should continue to have the same staffing budget. 

This consultation was the formal part of the first Review. One of the aims is to strengthen even more the process of feedback, and to widen it to include all interested parties, including the public.  Its principal focus was on improving the early edition of the Scheme – simplifying where possible, but also asking whether it is fair and workable.