How did IPSA evaluate the Housing Market in Westminster when coming to the figure stated in the ‘new rules’?”
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When determining the available budget for each eligible MP who elected to claim for rental of residential accommodation in the London area, IPSA looked beyond Westminster itself in making a judgement. Our benchmark was the cost of a one bedroom furnished apartment within 30 minutes' door-to-door commuting time from Westminster, by public transport or on foot.
Having established this benchmark, IPSA applied it by sampling the costs of properties of that nature being advertised at that stage (March 2010) in a selection of areas of London, such as Kennington, Putney and Pimlico. In each of those three areas there was a wide range of prices for 1 bedroom accommodation (for example in Pimlico monthly rents ranged from £910 to £5,400), but it was clear that in each area there was a substantial volume of suitable property on the market within the £1450 per month limit which was adopted.
IPSA was also guided by the information in the report of the Committee on Standards in Public Life's report on median prices in other areas such as Bermondsey and Battersea, Walworth, South Lambeth and Camberwell, all of which are currently the location of the accommodation of significant numbers of MPs.
Although the budget allocated is not necessarily sufficient to secure accommodation in every area of Central London, we were satisfied that the budget was sufficient to find suitable accommodation which would allow MPs to carry out their necessary parliamentary functions. The entire expenses scheme will of course be kept under review, and with property rental markets