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Correspondence relating to budget uplift requests
CAS-28595
Disclosure Date:16 Oct 2015
Categories: CORRESPONDENCE
Exemptions Applied: Cost limit
Request

Please release all correspondence relating to an MP's request for additional budget, over and above the limits specified in the expenses rules, in the categories of office, staff and accommodation in this current financial year and the two previous ones. Please include the reason for the request, the amount, whether it was refused or accepted and for what reasons.

Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

The MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’) provides a number of budgets, against which MPs can claim the costs of expenditure incurred in the exercise of their parliamentary functions.

There are a number of occasions where an MP can apply for an uplift to the prescribed budget limits. These include:

  • where an MP has caring responsibilities for a dependant (paragraph 4.30) (applies to the Accommodation budget);
  • necessary expenditure on replacement staff to cover staff on maternity, paternity or adoptive leave, or on long-term sick leave (i.e. longer than two weeks) (paragraph 7.4) (applies to the Staffing budget);
  • where an MP necessarily incurs expenditure on an exceptional, one-off basis related to the performance of their parliamentary functions which would exceed any of the budget limits (paragraph 10.11) (applies to any capped budget); or
  • where an MP incurs any necessary expenditure on staff redundancies or receives a rebate in relation to an MP staff pension scheme (applies to the Staffing budget);

In order to determine, locate, retrieve and extract all correspondence related to MPs’ requests for such uplifts from our system, we would be required to manually search through every piece of correspondence sent to us by MP over the past three financial years. We undertook a test to estimate the amount of time it would take to locate, retrieve and extract this information from our systems. We estimate that complying with this request would take us over the appropriate cost limit of £450 (part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Freedom of Information Act). Consequently, IPSA is not obliged to respond to your request (see section 12(1), FOIA).

However, in our published data for all expenditure incurred in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 financial years, we published the exact budgets each MPs received during the financial year, details of any uplift that was provided and the reason for that uplift. This may provide you with much of the information that you are seeking. To locate this information on our publication website the following instructions may assist.

  1. Select the relevant financial year;
  2. Click the link to ‘download all MPs' annual expenditure data…’. This will open the data in a spreadsheet, and will provide information on any budget uplifts provided; and
  3. Click the link for ‘Other Data…’. This will open the data in a spreadsheet, and will provide information on all applications for contingency funding, including the amount, the reason for the application and whether it was granted.