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Five receipts submitted by Peter Wishart MP, Elidh Whiteford MP and Mike Weir MP
CAS-23577
Disclosure Date:31 Jul 2015
Categories: COPIES OF RECEIPTS/INVOICES MPs' OFFICE COSTS
Exemptions Applied: Section 31 Section 40
Request

I would like to see the original expense receipts pertaining to the following expense claims by these MPs

 

Pete Wishart MP –

Ref315190 2/12/13 Computer HW purchase, new laptop £1149

Ref327893 13/1/14 repairs and decoration of Perth office for termination of office lease £3827.07

Eilidh Whiteford MP -

Ref349733 31/3/14 workstation chair £203.99

Ref 279253 30/6/13 staff training, Better business writing course £324

Mike Weir MP -

No ref 14/3/14 office costs, furniture purchase £375.22

Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

As you will be aware, we publish details of all claims made by MPs under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’) on our publication website, http://www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk.

You can view a copy of the Scheme on our website, at the following address: http://parliamentarystandards.org.uk/IPSAMPs/Scheme/Documents/MPs%27%20Scheme%20of%20Business%20Costs%20and%20Expenses%20Seventh%20Edition%20(2015-16).pdf.

Paragraph 1.1 of the Scheme states that all claims for reimbursement under the Scheme must be supported by evidence. Under Chapter Six of the Scheme, Office Costs Expenditure (OCE) is provided to meet the costs of renting, equipping and running an MP’s office, where the costs are incurred in the exercise of an MP’s parliamentary functions.

As such, please click here to download the receipts or invoices submitted in support of the claims listed in your request.

With regards the last request, relating to a furniture purchase, we do not hold a copy of an invoice or receipt; all of the information we hold relating to this claim is already published on our website. Under the Scheme, MPs can buy office supplies using accounts IPSA generated for them with three suppliers: Commercial, Banner and XMA. MPs order the supplies online and IPSA pays the suppliers directly using the information provided by the suppliers – MPs are not required to submit receipts, as the necessary information is verified and provided to us by the suppliers. These costs are then allocated to the MP’s Office Costs Expenditure budget.

We have withheld a small amount of information, such as account numbers, under Section 31(1)(a) (Law enforcement) of the FOI Act. This section of the Act states that information is exempt if its disclosure under the FOI Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the prevention (or detection) or crime.

After considering the nature of the withheld information it is our opinion that were a disclosure to be made into the public domain it is probable that this information could be traced back to sensitive personal or commercial information which could be used for criminal activity. Although we recognise the public interest in transparency surrounding the publishing of information relating to MPs’ expenses there is also a strong public interest in ensuring that we are able to protect our service users from the threat of being subjected to criminal activity. In our opinion the public interest in protecting the security of MPs’ and their property outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

We have also withheld a small amount of personal data under section 40(2) of the FOIA. Section 40(2) provides that personal information 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.