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Valuations and capital gain payments relating to Stephen O'Brien MP's property
F1415-123
Disclosure Date:18 Feb 2015
Categories: MORTGAGE INTEREST
Exemptions Applied: Section 21
Request

I am writing to find out about the valuations and capital gain payments on Stephen O'Brien's designated second home in London. In 2010 mortgage interest payments on second homes for MP's were stopped for all new members entering the Commons. However for existing MPs who returned in 2010 they were allowed to continue to have the mortgage interest payments paid out of accommodation expenses with the following proviso. The property would need to be valued by a member of the the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors at the start of the transition period (2010) and the end of the transition period (2012). The MP would then be liable to pay capital gains tax on any capital increase that the property gained, regardless of whether the property was sold or not.

I would like to request the following information in regard to the above arrangement in relation to Stephen O'Brien MP for Eddisbury.

  1. Did Mr O'Brien have the property he had been claiming mortgage interest payments on valued by a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors in 2010 and 2012?
  2. If the property was valued on both occasions what value was placed on the property in 2010 and what value was placed on the property in 2012?
  3. If the property was valued on both occasions did the valuation of the property increase or decrease during the time period (2010 - 2012)
  4. If the property was valued as having increased, by how much and what was the capital gains liability assessed as being?
  5. If the property was valued as having increased and capital gains was due, has Mr O'Brien paid the full amount owing. Also if The property was found to have incurred a capital gain payment and Mr O'Brien paid it, did he pay in one full and final settlement or did he arrange to pay in instalments.
  6. Did the firm, or individual who carried out the valuation carry out valuations for any other of the 71 MPs who took up the mortgage interest extension scheme, if so how many ,and if they did were their valuations as a percentage that the properties had increased, decreased or stayed the same. That is, did the member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors who valued Stephen O'Brien's London property value any of the other 71 MPs who continued to have mortgage interest paid and if so how many and what percentage were found to have increased in value and what percentage were found to have decreased in value.

 

Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

As you are 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 on our publication website at the following address (bottom of the page): http://www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk/AnnualisedData.aspx.

These data include information on the repayment of any capital gain, as well as the names of Members who took part in the arrangements, the amount claimed, the capital gain calculated as due to be repaid to IPSA and the name of the surveyors. 

The FOIA states that information that is accessible by other means is not subject to release. Therefore, as the information you have requested is already available on our website, it is exempt from disclosure under section 21 of the FOIA (information accessible to applicant by other means).

In IPSA’s view, specific valuations of properties owned by MPs is personal data.  The release of this information would reveal the total value of MPs’ private residences, including the share of the property not publicly subsidised, and is therefore exempt under section 40 (personal information) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

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.