List of MPs who claim extra rent for additional bedroom for their dependent children

Request

Can you please supply me with a list of the MPs who claim extra rent for additional bedroom for their dependent children.


Response

IPSA does not hold the information that you request.

As you may be aware, MPs may claim for business costs and expenses necessarily incurred in carrying out their Parliamentary functions, in accordance with the rules set out in the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’).  MPs deemed to have caring responsibilities may, if claiming rental accommodation under the Scheme, may have their accommodation budget limit increased to meet any additional costs that may be associated with dependents routinely resident at the property.  MPs must register their dependent(s) with IPSA.

The Scheme defines those deemed to have caring responsibilities as follows:

“4.24 For the purposes of this Scheme, MPs will be deemed to have caring responsibilities where they:

  1. have parental responsibility for a dependent child of up to the age of 16, or up to the age of 18 if in full-time education; or

  2. are the sole carer for a dependent child in full-time education, of up to the age of 21 years; or

  3. are the primary carer for a family member in receipt of one of the following benefits:

    1. Attendance Allowance;

    2. Disability Living Allowance[1] at the middle or highest rate for personal care; or

  • Constant Attendance Allowance at or above the maximum rate with an Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, or basic (full day) rate with a War Disablement Pension.

The Scheme also states that:

“4.22 An MP who is eligible to claim Accommodation Expenditure for rental costs may have their budget limit increased by up to £2,425 in any financial year for any additional expenditure that may be required, for each person for whom that MP has caring responsibilities (known hereafter as the “dependent”), provided that they can certify that the dependent routinely resides at the rented accommodation.”

The uplift for dependents simply increases the budget for accommodation, against which rental and associated costs may be claimed.  MPs are required to follow the standard procedure for submitting claims in accordance with the Scheme.

The information that we hold in relation to claims made for rental accommodation and associated costs does not separately identify additional costs directly attributable to dependents routinely-residing at the property.  Any additional accommodation cost arising from one or more routinely-resident dependents may form part of general costs, such as rent, utility bills or council tax.

For example, an increase in accommodation costs associated with one or more routinely-resident dependents may take the form of an increase in an electricity bill.  Neither the supporting evidence required by IPSA or the MPs’ submissions via the online expenses system are required to identify the proportion of the electricity bill that has been incurred as the result of one or more dependents being routinely resident.  Further, it would not be possible to make the assumption that a high claim made by an MP with a registered dependent was directly attributable to the dependent as there are many other factors that may have contributed to the increased cost of the bill.

Further, we are unable to provide information on the number of bedrooms in properties rented by Members of Parliament.  Although we require MPs to submit supporting evidence to accompany claims for rental accommodation in the form of the original rental agreement, we do not require the supporting evidence to contain information on bedrooms.

It is possible that some rental agreements we hold may include information relating to the number of bedrooms at a rental property, but this is by no means certain.  In a previous FOI request, we undertook a test to estimate the amount of time it would take to determine whether this information is held within rental agreements and estimate that to do so would take 40.6 hours of staff time, which takes us over the appropriate cost limit of £450 (part 1 of Schedule 1 of the FOIA) and are therefore not obliged under the FOIA to comply with your request.  We can, however, confirm that the results of the test carried out, in which we reviewed 10 per cent of active rental agreements, did not reveal any information related to the number of bedrooms. 

[1] Following the introduction later this year of Personal Independence Payments for those 16 and over, MPs will be deemed to have caring responsibilities if they are the primary carer for a family member in receipt of the daily living component of personal independence payment.

Ref:
F1314-243
Disclosure:
March 27, 2014
Categories:
MPs' ACCOMMODATION
Exemptions Applied:
Cost limit