I am writing to you under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to request the following information from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
- Copies of all the claim forms submitted by Sinn Fein’s West Belfast MP Paul Maskey for rent costs since he became an MP
- Copies of any claim forms where rent was paid to a company called ‘Sevastapol Developments Limited’ [This has been misspelt on your website as ‘Sevasapol Developments’]
- Any documentation that was submitted by Paul Maskey MP or Sinn Fein in relation to proof that a valuer regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors provided a valuation of the rental costs for Mr Maskey’s West Belfast constituency office
Under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’), MPs can claim the costs associated with the renting, running and maintenance of a constituency office (or offices).
Full details of all claims made by MPs, including those for office rent, can be found on our website.
Claims by Paul Maskey for office rent
To make claims for office rent, MPs must first register that office with IPSA, which should include a copy of the office lease. Please click here to view a copy of the lease for the constituency office rented by Paul Maskey.
In terms of paying the office rent, MPs can choose to either:
- pay the rent to the landlord themselves and then claim reimbursement from IPSA, or
- request that IPSA pay the landlord for the regular rental amount directly.
Mr Maskey pays his office landlord directly and claims reimbursement. As such, he is required to submit copies of the invoices received from his landlord. Please use the links below to view copies of the invoices that we hold:
Valuation of office rental costs
Where the constituency office is rented from a political party or constituency association, the MP must provide a valuation of the market rate, prepared by a RICS registered valuer. That market rate must not then be exceeded. As Mr Maskey does not rent from a political party or association, he is not required to provide a valuation.
Any other claims for rental payments to Sevastopol Developments Limited
According to our records, Sevastopol Developments Limited also rented office premises to Gerry Adams until his resignation as an MP in January 2011.
Please click here to view a copy of one invoice which was submitted by Mr Adams in support of office rent.
We have withheld the names, signatures, occupations and addresses of third parties, whose details are contained within the constituency office lease. This information is ‘personal data’, as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). As such, we have withheld such information under section 40 of the FOIA. Section 40(2) 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.