Permissible MP travel expenses and staffing costs

Request

I am seeking guidance on what is and what is not permissible for MPs to claim, in particular:

Can MPs claim for travel and hotels to take a trip to Auschwitz in Poland?

Can MPs claim travel for dependants, including first class travel?

What are the guidelines for this?

How do I go about changing your current expenses conditions to prevent MPs for claiming first class travel at all as this is public money and it is not necessary for MPs to claim this. I myself travel on rail standard class and I am able to book in advance and reserve a table so I can work whilst travelling.

Please can you also advise me if, under FoI, I am permitted to have disclosed to me the exact details of staff costs. At present my MP will allow advise me of the amount, and how many staff but not who these are and what each of them is paid?


Response

IPSA holds the information you requested.

MPs’ travel

Under the Scheme of MPs’ Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’), travel and subsistence claims may be made for the costs of travel, and travel-related subsistence incurred by MPs or others, which are in support of the MP’s parliamentary functions. IPSA will only pay for journeys to other states in Europe, and no international travel may be claimed, except in circumstances when Parliament is recalled. MPs may not claim for international travel for their staff or family members.

Chapter 9 of the scheme sets out the conditions under which IPSA will pay MPs’ travel expense claims. You will note that, while MPs can purchase first or business class tickets, we will only reimburse claims at the rate of an economy class ticket available at the time of booking, and the rest of the cost must be covered by the MP.

Public consultation

IPSA conducts annual reviews of the scheme, and our consultations on proposed changes are open to members of the public. Details of past as well as any current public consultations are available on our website.

MPs staffing costs

IPSA publishes details of MPs’ staffing costs on our website.

In the top right-hand corner, select the financial year you are interested in from the drop-down menu, and then select ‘other data’. Download the relevant data spreadsheet.

Column ‘O’ provides the job titles of all staff (including the total number of staff) employed by each MP.

Following the same process as above, but instead downloading the ‘Total Spend’ spreadsheet will provide you with details of MPs’ staffing costs.

Details of MPs’ staff pay scales can be found here.

IPSA will not publish the names or individual salaries of MPs’ staff members, as we believe disclosure of this information is exempt under s.40 FOIA (Personal Information).

This is because Freedom of Information Act requests are considered to be disclosures into the public domain, so to release this information would breach the data protection principles under the General Data Protection Regulation.

We do not believe that it would be fair, or meet the reasonable expectations of MPs’ staff to have their names or details of their individual salaries released into the public domain in response to FOIA requests.

This concludes our response to your request.

Ref:
CAS-141972
Disclosure:
May 24, 2019
Categories:
MPs' STAFFINGMPs' TRAVEL
Exemptions Applied:
Section 40