Claims for tea and coffee

Request

I would like to obtain the following information under the Freedom of Information Act.

  • A monthly and annual breakdown since 2012 of the cost of expenses filed for tea, coffee and biscuits at Parliamentary meetings.

If such expenses are filed under another umbrella category such as 'food and drink', I would like to receive the breakdown of tea, coffee and biscuits within this category.


Response

IPSA holds some of the information that you request.

Members of Parliament are permitted, under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’), to claim for expenses legitimately incurred whilst carrying out their parliamentary duties and are required to certify that this is the case before submitting claims.  This may include any food or drink costs incurred for the purpose of hospitality.   

You may be aware that IPSA publishes details of all claims for business costs and expenses on our website every two months, three months in arrears.  The most recent publication took place on 14 November 2013, which relates to claims made between June and July 2013.  Using the search function, you can download details of all claims made for hospitality purposes, which may provide you with some of the information you are seeking.  

This will provide you with all claims made under the ‘hospitality’ category.  You will then be able to search the columns entitled ‘short description’ and ‘details’ for any specific claims you are interested in.

In your request, you made reference to refreshments specifically provided at parliamentary meetings.  We are not able to separately identify claims made for tea, coffee and biscuits which were specifically provided at parliamentary meetings from any other claims made for tea, coffee and biscuits. 

For your reference, the next publication date is 9 January 2014, which will cover those claims processed by IPSA during August to September 2013.  Claims subsequently processed by IPSA will follow in future publications.

The FOIA states that information that is accessible by other means is not subject to release. Therefore, as the information you have requested is already available on our website, it is exempt from disclosure under section 21 of the FOIA (information accessible to applicant by other means).

Further, Section 22(1) of the FOIA states that information intended for future publication is exempt from release.

We have considered whether the public interest in releasing the information outweighs the application of the exemption. It is our opinion that the public interest is best served by publishing a full list rather than on an ad hoc basis, as in this way a clear and complete set of information is published, avoiding any potential confusion. It is for this reason that the application of the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure at this stage.

Ref:
F1314-143
Disclosure:
November 19, 2013
Categories:
GENERAL EXPENSES ENQUIRY
Exemptions Applied:
None