Paul Burstow MP office rent agreement with IPSA

Request

In a recent copy of our free local newspaper, The Sutton Guardian, Elaine Drage Chairwoman of the Sutton Liberal Democrats, wrote in reply to a letter previously published.

In it she states, “The rent Tom Brake pays, as our sub tenant, goes directly to the private landlord who owns the property. The local party also pays rent to the landlord for the share of the property we use. The apportionment of the space and rent has been approved by IPSA.”

Ms Drage wrote in her capacity as Chairwoman for all Sutton Liberal Democrats. The arrangements made for Mr Burstow are similar to Mr Brake and deserve the same treatment.

The above statement supposes that correspondence has been created for the approval to be given and I am assuming similar arrangements are in place for Mr Burstow.

It also suggests that this has been a long term arrangement.

Please disclose all correspondence (electronically will be acceptable) that shows the detail of this arrangement. Please include contracts and letters and details of the apportionment of the rent and the space that is paid for privately as we cannot make a judgement unless we know what Mr Burstow pays and how much is paid to the landlord by the party.

Please go as far back as 2010 as far as this arrangement has been made for or if it extends prior to 2010 please additionally indicate when the arrangement started.


Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

As you will be aware, Members of Parliament are entitled, under the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’) to claim the cost of renting office space for the purpose of a constituency office.  Chapter Six of the Scheme specifies the rules regarding Office Costs Expenditure (OCE), and can be viewed on our website.

Section 6.12 of the Scheme states that where the constituency office is to be rented from a political party or constituency association, the MP must provide a valuation of the market rate for the contract (prepared by a valuer regulated by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), which must not be exceeded.  Mr Burstow submitted these documents to IPSA upon registration in line with the evidence requirements as required by the Scheme.

In processing your request, we searched our systems for any correspondence or documents which detail the arrangement between Mr Burstow and the landlord of his constituency office. The information we located relating to your request is located within the office lease, and accompanying valuation report.  As noted above, these were submitted to IPSA as supporting documentation when the office was first registered with us in 2010. 

Please find attached in Annex A a copy of the lease for the property requested.  We have redacted some information contained in the lease relating to third parties under Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act.  Section 40(2) provides that personal data about third parties is exempt information if one of the conditions set out in section 40(3) is satisfied. Under the FOI Act disclosure of this information would breach the fair processing principle (Principle 1) of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), where it would be unfair to those persons or is confidential. For further information, you may wish to visit the UK Legislation website.

Further, please find attached in Annex B a redacted copy of the valuation for the property requested, which details of the apportionment of the rent and the space.  We have withheld information contained in the valuation relating to third parties under Section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act.  Section 40(2) provides that personal data about third parties is exempt information if one of the conditions set out in section 40(3) is satisfied. Under the FOI Act disclosure of this information would breach the fair processing principle (Principle 1) of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), where it would be unfair to those persons or is confidential. For further information, you may wish to visit the UK Legislation website.

Ref:
F1314-203
Disclosure:
February 6, 2014
Categories:
COPIES OF RECEIPTS/INVOICES
Exemptions Applied:
Section 40