Can you kindly advise me if:-
- It is correct that only Conservative MPs can claim a PRU subscription?
- How many (Conservative) MPs claimed subscriptions for PRU (in whatever financial years figures may be available)?
- The total expense to the public purse for whatever years fugures may be available?
- Is there any similar facility available for non Conservative MPs which is funded at public expense?
I should be pleased to receive any other information that clarifies this apparently peculiar arrangement that benefits only one political group.
Chapter 7 of the MPs Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’) states that Staffing Expenditure may be claimed to meet the cost incurred in the provision of staff to assist with the performance of an MP's parliamentary functions, which includes payments to pooled staffing resources, such as the Policy Research Unit (PRU).
These organisations are often affiliated with political parties and provide pooled staffing support to MPs of that party; similar organisations exist for other political parties.
As you may be aware, IPSA publishes details of all claims for business costs and expenses on our website every two months, three months in arrears, via the following address: http://www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk. The most recent publication took place on 8 January 2015, which relates to claims made between August and September 2014. Using the search function, you can download details of all claims made for any pooled or professional services. This information can then be extracted to identify those claims which relate to pooled staffing resources.
The following instructions may assist you in filtering the information:
- Select ‘Search Function’ via the menu bar at the top of the page
- Under ‘Select MP(s), Constituencies, Postcode or Region’, select an MP.
- Under ‘Select a year and, optionally, month(s)’, select a financial period.
- Under ‘Select category(s) of Business Cost or Expense’, select ‘Staffing’ and ‘Office Costs’
- Under ‘Select type(s) of Business Cost or Expense’, select ‘Pooled Services’, ‘Pooled Services: Direct’, ‘Professional Services’ and ‘Professional Services: Direct’.
- Click ‘Find’ to retrieve the results. You will then need to export this data to a spreadsheet format via the link at the top right-hand corner of the page.
You can then search the ‘details’ field to find any claims which mention the PRU, Policy Research Unit or annual Parliamentary Research subscriptions.