I would like to put in a request for information relating to the expenses incurred by MP's as outlined in your document "The MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses 2015-16', ' CHAPTER TEN: MISCELLANEOUS EXPENDITURE AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE'
I would be grateful if you could provide the following :
- A complete list of MP's who have submitted expense requests, together with
the amount of money paid to individual MP's in relation to claims made for
'disability' issues, during the periods of 2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2014-2015,
together with any information for the current 2015-2016 that may be available.
IPSA holds the information that you request.
Under the MPs' Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses ('the Scheme'), Disability Assistance may be claimed by any MP for necessary additional expenditure incurred in the performance of an MP's parliamentary functions which is reasonably attributable to a disability of an MP, a staff member, a job applicant or constituents visiting the office or surgery. This usually takes the form of necessary adjustments to an MP's office which are required as a result of an MP (or other individuals mentioned above) having a disability (e.g. a ramp being installed).
The Disability Assistance available under the Scheme covers specific costs incurred by the MP or their staff in the exercise of their parliamentary functions (i.e. to ensure they are able to do their jobs). It does not cover personal costs incurred by the MP in their private life outside of Parliament and is not comparable to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payments (PIPs).
The full rules regarding Disability Assistance (and what it can cover) can be found at Chapter Ten of the Scheme, a copy of which can be found at the following address: http://parliamentarystandards.org.uk/IPSAMPs/Scheme.
Due to the sensitive nature of the topic, we do not publish individual claims relating to disability, but we do publish an annual aggregate which can be found at the following address: http://www.parliamentary-standards.org.uk/AnnualisedData.aspx.
At the time of responding, 24 MPs were eligible to claim Disability Assistance. In many instances, it may be a staff member (or another individual) who has a disability and not the MP themselves; the figure of 24 includes necessary costs incurred by the MP’s staff members, job applicants and constituents visiting the MP’s office or surgery.
Disclosing the names of the individual MPs who claim Disability Assistance would be likely to identify the identities of individuals with disabilities, whether that be a member of the MP’s staff, the MP themselves or another individual. Information about the physical or mental health of an individual is ‘sensitive personal data’, as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). It is not in the reasonable expectations of an individual that sensitive personal data relating to themselves will be put into the public domain and as a result disclosure is not likely to be fair. We have therefore withheld this information in accordance with section 40 of the FOIA, which provides that personal information about third parties is exempt information if disclosure would breach the fair processing principle (Principle 1) of the DPA, where it would be unfair to those persons or is confidential. You can find out more information about personal data and FOI via guidance from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) on their website: http://ico.org.uk.