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Correspondence exchanged with former MPs relating to outstanding loans at May 7 2015
CAS-34163
Disclosure Date:21 Dec 2015
Categories: CORRESPONDENCE DEBT
Exemptions Applied: Cost limit
Request

I would like to request under FOIs any correspondence relating to or details of any IPSA loans to former MPs that are or were outstanding after May 7, 2015.

 

Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

Under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’) there are two types of loans offered to MPs: advance loans and deposit loans.

Advance loans

Each MP can apply for an interest-free advance loan of up to £4,000 to assist with cash-flow and help them cover any costs they incur that are allowed under the Scheme. These loans are repayable in full by the end of the Parliament.

MPs may also apply for a loan for any deposit payable at the start of a tenancy for their constituency office or accommodation. MPs will need to repay this loan in full within one month of the rental agreement ending.

In our annual publication of claims made by MPs over the financial year, we publish details of advance and deposit loans taken out by MPs. This provides details of advance and deposit loans outstanding at 31 March; data for 2014-15 also provides additional information regarding MPs who missed the deadline to repay advance loans. You can view this information on our website at the following address: http://www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk/AnnualisedData.aspx.

To locate the information on MPs who missed the repayment deadline for advance loans, the following information may assist.

  1. Select financial year 2014-15.
  2. Click the link on the right-hand side for ‘other data’, and open the spreadsheet when prompted.

Deposit loans and associated correspondence

With regards to your request, we originally informed you on 11 December that we required further time to consider the public interest arguments surrounding disclosure of the information requested. Whilst carrying out this exercise, we have identified further information which we believe falls within the remit of your request.

We have estimated that to locate and extract all the information would exceed the appropriate cost limit of £450 (part 1 of Schedule 1 of the Freedom of Information Act). This is due to a number of reasons:

  1. Locating and extracting correspondence from our systems requires manually searching through individual letters, emails and records of phone calls exchanged between IPSA and the MP concerned, and
  2. MPs’ deposit loans become ‘outstanding’ at different points, depending upon their individual circumstances, so identifying those that were ‘outstanding’ at May 7th 2015 is not as simple as identifying those who still had loans at that point in time.

As such, we are not able to process your request within the appropriate cost limit under section 12 of the FOIA.