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Action taken to recover amounts owed by MPs (September 2016)
CAS-57779
Disclosure Date:21 Sep 2016
Categories: DEBT
Exemptions Applied: None
Request

Details of MPs and former MPs who have been subject to action to recover money owed, since March 3rd, 2016 (the previous disclosure of this information). Could this include names, the amount of debt when the action was taken, what measures were taken (eg cancelling payment cards), and what the current level of outstanding debt is.

 

Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

Background

There are numerous reasons why an MP may be listed as ‘owing’ an amount to IPSA. The fact that an MP is required to pay an amount to IPSA does not indicate any breach of the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’) or the associated rules. Indeed, the day to day operation of the expenses systems means that at any one point in time, amounts will be owed by IPSA to MPs, and by MPs to IPSA.

For example, claims made on payment cards require reconciling a month after the cost is incurred; purchases are made on the card by the MP and supporting documentation must then be supplied to IPSA by the end of the month. Until supporting documentation is received, the claim is marked as requiring repayment. Where supporting documentation can be provided for a claimable expense, the amount is not required to be repaid by the MP.

In addition:

  • where an MP exceeds a budget limit, that amount exceeding the limit must be repaid;
  • where an MP has paid for something on their payment card, but marked the payment as a cost which they do not intend to claim from IPSA, this amount must be repaid; and
  • where a claim has been identified through post-payment assurance checks as a cost that is ineligible under the Scheme, this amount must be repaid (and the claim will be marked as such on our publication website).

In addition to payment card reconciliation reminders, all MPs are sent financial statements each month detailing their financial position with IPSA. These statements include personalised projections of spend over the financial year. If an MP is projected to overspend, this is highlighted to the MP. These statements also contain details of amounts that IPSA considers are required to be repaid. If the MP has not contacted IPSA by the following financial statement, these amounts become owed.

Action taken to recover amounts

If these amounts are not repaid or reconciled by the end of the following week, action is initiated by IPSA to recover the amounts. This takes the form of ‘offsetting’. During this period, the MP’s payment card is temporarily suspended, and all reimbursement claims are not paid to the MP until the amount has been recovered in full.

Occasionally, once the action to initiate offsetting has been taken, MPs may voluntarily decide to repay the amount in full, or set up salary deductions to repay the amounts due. Once a repayment plan has been established, use of the payment card is then reinstated.

Under the terms of the Scheme, if the MP does not pay the amount within one month of being notified, the amount may be deducted from the MP’s salary or otherwise recovered.

The information at below represents all action that has been taken to recover amounts since our last disclosure on March 3, 2016. This provides the name of the MP, the date the action was taken, the amount owed when the action was taken and the amount owed as at the date of responding.

Annex A - Action taken to recover amounts

MP name

Date of action

Amount owed when action taken

Amount still outstanding (As at time of responding)

Joanna Cherry

15/08/2016

£2,432.68

£0.00

Paul Monaghan

23/06/2016

£393.61

£0.00

Simon Danczuk

15/08/2016

£804.55

£0.00

Margaret Ritchie

15/08/2016

£989.52

£0.00

Debbie Abrahams

15/08/2016

£8,982.86

£8,232.86*

Kate Hollern

23/06/2016

£222.60

£0.00

Ben Howlett

12/07/2016

£388.00

£0.00

Angus MacNeil

23/06/2016

£555.97

£0.00

Toby Perkins

12/07/2016

£159.74

£0.00

Geoffrey Robinson

15/08/2016

£851.57

£0.00

Jim Shannon

15/08/2016

£1,810.12

£1,159.42*

Chloe Smith

23/06/2016

£648.00

£0.00

Owen Thompson

15/08/2016

£880.65

£0.00

*A monthly repayment plan is in place for this outstanding amount.