Details of MPs’ TV licence expense claims

Request

  1. Why do tax payers have to pay for the BBC Television Licence fee for Members of Parliament on their expenses?

  2. How many Members of Parliament claim for Sky TV, Virgin or BT on their expenses?

  3. What is the total cost of the BBC, SKY TV, Virgin and BT subscriptions claimed by MP's in 12 months.


Response

IPSA holds the information that you request.

I will take each of your questions in turn:

1. Why do tax payers have to pay for the BBC Television Licence fee for Members of Parliament on their expenses?

Under the Scheme of MPs' Business Costs and Expenses ('the Scheme'),  MPs are able to claim for business costs which support their parliamentary work. This may include TV licence fees which can only be claimed for their constituency office, from the office costs budget.

MPs are allocated a fixed office costs budget which they must manage, and they can only claim for expenses, which IPSA deems are in support of their parliamentary functions. No additional funding is provided to MPs to pay for the TV licence, so they must decide whether or not to use their allocated budget to fund the expense.

2. How many Members of Parliament claim for Sky TV, Virgin or BT on their expenses?

We have taken your question as referring to TV package subscriptions from those companies only. I confirm that those expenses fall outside of the scheme, and no MPs are claiming for television package subscriptions to Sky TV, Virgin or BT.

Please note that MPs do subscribe to these three companies for other services, namely office landline, mobile and internet services. These types of services may be claimed from the office expense costs budget, and MPs are required to submit invoices to enable us to verify that the services for which they are claiming from the companies, are those to which they are entitled to under the Scheme.

3. What is the total cost of the BBC, SKY TV, Virgin and BT subscriptions claimed by MP's in 12 months.

In relation to the BBC television licence fee, the requested information is available on IPSA’s website.

  • At the top of the page, select the financial year you are interested in, and then select ‘individual claims’. Click on Download.

  • When you have downloaded the spreadsheet, you should apply filters by clicking on the ‘sort and filter button’.

  • In column G ‘Expense Type’, apply the filter by ‘Television Licence Purchase’.

In relation to TV packages from other providers, as stated at question 2 above, MPs office costs do not include television subscription packages to these companies.

This concludes our response to your request.

Ref:
CAS-144570
Disclosure:
July 3, 2019
Categories:
GENERAL EXPENSES ENQUIRY
Exemptions Applied: