In an email on 16 May, with regards to Robert Goodwill MP and claims made for mortgage interest on his property, you wrote:
‘I would like to see the valuation of the property when it was first purchased and the current valuation, so I can be sure that no foul play has taken place.’
You later clarified, in an email on 6 June 2013:
‘Mr Goodwill is recently reported to have made a payment to the IPSA in regard to the gain on his second home. The figure reported is £4,963.39. I have done some research and he bought the London property concerned in March 2006 for £295,000. This information can be found on the web and also in the old parliamentary expenses system.
Given the rise in London property since 2006 I believe the Capital Gain repayment should have been much higher. I would like to see the figures the IPSA has used to work out that Capital Gain repayment to make sure everything is above board.’
IPSA holds the information that you request.
As you will be aware, IPSA abolished the mortgage interest subsidy, previously available to MPs, when introducing the new Scheme for MPs’ Business Costs and Expenses in 2010.
The new Scheme contained transitional arrangements for returning MPs, including a process to recoup for the taxpayer an appropriate level of any capital gain made. These arrangements, which expired in August 2012, can be found at Annex A here, and include information on how capital gain was calculated. Details on the repayment of any capital gain, including the names of the chartered surveyors that carried out valuations, are published on website, which you can access via this link: http://www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk/files/Final_mortgage_interest_data_070513.xlsx [Excel spreadsheet].
We can confirm that, in line with the rules established in the Scheme, Mr Goodwill sought property valuation from a surveyor registered with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), whom we believe to be the most authoritative voice on property values. The figure of £4963.39, which was calculated through such valuations and which was repaid in full by Mr Goodwill under the terms of the Scheme, relates to an increase in the value of Mr Goodwill’s property from the beginning of the transitional arrangements in May 2010 to their conclusion in March 2012.
In IPSA’s view, information you have requested relating to the specific valuations of properties belonging to Members of Parliament is exempt under section 40 (personal information) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Valuations hold specific details on the property, its construction, the layout of the property, the floor area, the type of tenure, the general repair and condition and its value, all of which constitute personal data.
Section 40(2) provides that personal data about third parties is exempt information if one of the conditions set out in section 40(3) is satisfied. Under the FOI Act disclosure of this information would breach the fair processing principle (Principle 1) of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), where it would be unfair to those persons or is confidential. For further information, you may wish to visit the UK Legislation website.