‘Please supply the names of all MPs who have registered their children with IPSA in order to qualify for additional accommodation expenditure as per sections 4.22 and 4.23 of the scheme. Please supply the name of the MP, the number of children the MP has registered with IPSA and the total amount of additional accommodation expenditure applied for. ‘
IPSA holds some of the information that you request.
Under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’), MPs may claim for business costs and expenses necessarily incurred in carrying out their Parliamentary functions. MPs deemed to have caring responsibilities are entitled to claim for travel for dependents and, if claiming rental accommodation under the Scheme, may have their accommodation budget limit increased to meet any additional costs that may be associated with dependents routinely resident at the property. In order to be eligible to claim travel costs for a dependent or to have their accommodation budget limit increased, MPs must register their dependent(s) with IPSA.
The Scheme defines those deemed to have caring responsibilities:
“4.24 For the purposes of this Scheme, MPs will be deemed to have caring responsibilities where they:
- have parental responsibility for a dependent child of up to the age of 16, or up to the age of 18 if in full-time education; or
- are the sole carer for a dependent child in full-time education, of up to the age of 21 years; or
- are the primary carer for a family member in receipt of one of the following benefits:
- Attendance Allowance;
- Disability Living Allowance at the middle or highest rate for personal care; or
- Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, or basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension.
With regard to accommodation expenses for dependents, the Scheme states that:
“4.22 An MP who is eligible to claim Accommodation Expenditure for rental costs may have their budget limit increased by up to £2,425 in any financial year for any additional expenditure that may be required, for each person for whom that MP has caring responsibilities (known hereafter as the “dependent”), provided that they can certify that the dependent routinely resides at the rented accommodation.”
As set out above, MPs who claim for rental accommodation, and who have individuals for whom they have caring responsibilities routinely-residing at the property, may have their budget increased by £2,425 for each dependent registered. The uplift for dependents simply increases the budget for accommodation, against which rental and associated costs may be claimed. MPs who do so are then required to follow the standard procedure for submitting claims in accordance with the Scheme.
The information that we hold in relation to claims made for rental accommodation and associated costs does not separately identify additional costs directly attributable to dependents routinely-residing at the property. In contrast to claims for travel for dependents, all of which relate to discrete journeys undertaken by dependents and are therefore easily distinguishable, any additional accommodation cost arising from one or more routinely-resident dependents may form part of general costs, such as rent, utility bills or council tax.
For example, an increase in accommodation costs associated with one or more routinely-resident dependents may take the form of an increase in an electricity bill. Neither the supporting evidence required by IPSA or the MPs’ submissions via the online expenses system are required to identify the proportion of the electricity bill that has been incurred as the result of one or more dependents being routinely resident. Further, it would not be possible to make the assumption that a high claim made by an MP with a registered dependent was directly attributable to the dependent(s) as there are many other factors that may have contributed to the increased cost of the bill.
In IPSA’s view, information you have requested relating to Members of Parliament who have registered dependents who are children is exempt under section 40 (personal information) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). We will not, as a matter of course, separately identify Members of Parliament who have registered dependents who are children, as doing so would reveal personal information about their private lives.
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.
However, you may be aware that we publish all FOI requests made to IPSA, along with their responses, on our website. As such, we answered a similar question in a previous FOI request, reference F1314-023. In our response we provided figures detailing which MPs have registered dependents (including, but not limited to, children) and how many dependents each MP has registered each financial year since 2010. You can view our response to this request, and all other requests, on IPSA’s website, or by following this direct link: http://parliamentarystandards.org.uk/transparency/FOI/2013_14%20Freedom%20of%20information%20requests%20and%20responses/wF1314-023.pdf
 Following the introduction later this year of Personal Independence Payments for those 16 and over, MPs will be deemed to have caring responsibilities if they are the primary carer for a family member in receipt of the daily living component of personal independence payment.