I would like to enquire how many over the accommodation limit claims you have paid in the last year and to how many MPs
IPSA holds the information that you request.
As you will be aware, the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’) states that accommodation expenditure may only be claimed in relation to hotel accommodation up to a maximum cost of £150 per night in the London Area or £120 elsewhere in the United Kingdom.
Under the terms of the Scheme, it is possible for an MP to apply for contingency funding in order to find claims for hotel accommodation above the specified limits. However, I can confirm that we have not approved any contingency funding to MPs relating to an increase in the hotel accommodation limit since being established in May 2010.
The Scheme also provides for a small number of extraordinary instances in which the limit may be exceeded, including:
- where an MP incurs additional costs which are reasonably attributable to a disability; and
- where an MP incurs extraordinary costs necessary to ensure their security to enable their parliamentary functions to be undertaken.
Further, under Travel and Subsistence Expenditure, where the House of Commons sits unexpectedly later than 1am and the MP is able to demonstrate that booking a hotel room at late notice within the limit is not possible, IPSA will, at its discretion, pay for accommodation above the limit.
In order to provide anonymised figures on the number of instances we have permitted MPs to claim above the limit for any of the reasons noted above, we would be required to manually search through over 2,000 claims made by MPs for hotel accommodation in the last financial year. We estimate that undertaking this task 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 able to respond to your request (see section 12(1), FOIA).