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Repayments made to IPSA by MPs for office subletting
CAS-25210
Disclosure Date:1 Sep 2015
Categories: MPs' OFFICE COSTS
Exemptions Applied: Section 22
Request

Following the general election of May 2015 could I ask per MP of the 2010-2015 parliament how much was received by yourselves on a monthly basis between January - May 2015 in payments against subletting of constituency office space?

Further to the above could this be broke down by MP over the monthly periods mentioned?

Response

You later confirmed you were also seeking details of repayments made by MPs for the use of their constituency office for party-political campaigning during the election period.

IPSA holds the information that you request.

Under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’), where an MP who claims office rental expenditure gives permission to any person for the use of the constituency office (or any part of it) on one or more occasions, a fee must be charged which reflects an appropriate proportion of the rent and other costs incurred. This fee must then be remitted to IPSA in its entirety.

In making any claim under the Scheme, an MP must certify that the expenditure was necessary for the performance of his or her parliamentary functions. This does not include work conducted for or at the behest of a political party, or activities which could be construed as campaign expenditure under the relevant legislation.

As such, should MPs wish to utilise their constituency offices (the rent of which is claimed under the Scheme and paid by IPSA) for party-political activity, they must repay the relevant proportion of rent and costs that have been claimed. Alternatively, MPs may choose not to claim the rental costs, or claim reduced rates.

In line with the rules set out in the Scheme, we received 152 remittances from 79 MPs between 1 January 2015 and 31 May 2015, totalling £41,177.92. A full breakdown of these amounts are published as part of IPSA’s regular publication and will be available on our publication website: http://www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk/.

Full data relating to the 2014-15 financial year will be published on 10 September 2015. Section 22(1) of the FOIA states that information intended for future publication is exempt from release. We have considered whether the public interest in releasing the information outweighs the application of the exemption. It is our opinion that the public interest is best served by publishing a full list rather than on an ad hoc basis, as in this way a clear and complete set of information is published, avoiding any potential confusion. It is for this reason that the application of the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure at this stage.