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Accommodation rental agreements for 17 MPs
CAS-88798
Disclosure Date:30 Aug 2017
Categories: COPIES OF RECEIPTS/INVOICES MPs' ACCOMMODATION
Exemptions Applied: Section 38 Section 40
Request

Copies of any documentation relating to the properties rented on expenses by the following MPs (at any point over the last year). I.e. a copy of their most recent accommodation contract/ tenancy agreement that was submitted to IPSA and any other relevant documents.

I appreciate that some of these documents may contain personal information that cannot be released under the Freedom of Information Act. If this is the case, could the offending passages please be blanked out (with the relevant exemptions cited), so that the document can still be released, for the sake of the remainder of the text.

The MPs I am interested in are…

  • Victoria Atkins (Louth and Horncastle)
  • Clive Betts (Sheffield South East)
  • James Cleverly (Braintree)
  • Damian Collins (Folkestone and Hythe)
  • Alberto Costa (South Leicestershire)
  • Sir David Crausby (Bolton North East)
  • Philip Davies (Shipley)
  • Dr Liam Fox (North Somerset)
  • John Glen (Salisbury)
  • Robert Goodwill (Scarborough and Whitby)
  • Sir Greg Knight (East Yorkshire)
  • Ian Murray (Edinburgh South)
  • Owen Paterson (North Shropshire)
  • Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury)
  • Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
  • Ben Wallace (Wyre and Preston North)
  • John Whittingdale (Maldon)
Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

Under the Scheme of MPs’ Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’), an Accommodation Costs budget is provided to meet costs necessarily incurred by MPs as a result of working from two permanent locations.

Non-London MPs may claim for Accommodation Costs in relation to a property at one location, which may be either:

  1. in the London Area, or
  2. within the MP’s constituency, or within 20 miles of any point on the constituency boundary.

For MPs who rent in the London Area, the annual accommodation budget is £22,760. For MPs who rent outside the London Area, the budget is £15,850. This budget is intended to cover the costs of rental payments and associated costs (or, if the MP chooses, hotel costs).

As you may be aware, we publish details of all claims made by MPs for business costs and expenses on our website.

For more information, the full rules regarding Accommodation Costs (including IPSA’s requirements and the process for registering a property) can be found at Chapter Four of the Scheme.

Please use the links below to view the most recent rental contracts held for the 17 MPs requested.

Exemptions applied

We have redacted any information from these leases which could be used to identify the location of the property, the disclosure of which would be likely to endanger the safety of the MPs concerned, or their families. This includes:

  • the address of the property;
  • the name of the landlord of the property;
  • the address of the landlord;
  • the name and address of the letting agent; and
  • any information pertaining to the layout of the property.

We have also removed additional information, such as the specific tenancy dates, from specific leases where it has been demonstrated that disclosure could plausibly lead to identification of the property’s location.

Section 38(1)(b) (Health and safety) of the FOI Act states that information is exempt if its disclosure under the FOI Act would, or would be likely to, endanger the safety of any individual. As required under the terms of the FOIA, we have conducted a public interest test with regards this exemption. After considering the nature of the withheld information it is our opinion that were a disclosure to be made into the public domain it is likely that this information could be used to endanger the safety of the individuals who rely upon these locations for accommodation.

Although we recognise the public interest in transparency surrounding the publishing of this information there is also a strong public interest in ensuring that as an organisation we are able to protect MPs, their families and staff from threats to their safety, which is achieved through our capacity to withhold certain information from disclosure. This is also in line with our stated publication policy. It is for this reason that we have decided that the application of the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

Further, some information contained within the leases, such as the names of third parties and their signatures is ‘personal data’, as defined by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). As such, we have withheld such information in accordance with section 40 of the FOIA. For reference, 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.