Key facts about IPSA
A lot has changed since the MPs’ expenses scandal in 2009, but our research shows that there are still misconceptions around MPs’ staffing and business costs. Here are some facts that might surprise you.
MPs don’t decide their own pay or business costs.
At IPSA, we decide MPs’ pay and what they can claim as business costs. We have been doing this since 2010. Our decisions are made independently from Parliament, and we work hard to ensure that public money is spent appropriately.
MPs can only claim for costs they incur while performing their parliamentary duties.
Business costs are not a bonus to top up MPs’ salaries. MPs can only claim the costs of resources that assist them in doing their job. Think printer cartridges, train tickets and staff salaries, rather than duck houses or mortgages.
You can find out more about what MPs can claim as business costs
Most MPs’ costs are for their staff and constituency offices.
If you look at the data we publish on our website, you will see that most of the funding we provide goes to MPs’ staff. Around 90% of the money we allocate to MPs isn’t actually spent on the MP at all. It is invested in local communities through caseworkers and parliamentary assistants, who work hard to support constituents on a huge range of issues and to represent them in Parliament.
MPs can’t claim for personal costs like food and drink in their normal working day.
While MPs can claim for some subsistence costs if they are travelling for work, they cannot claim for any personal costs outside of this. This is no different from typical travel policies across the public and private sectors.
There are rules in place to decide what MPs can and can’t claim and all claims are regulated by IPSA.
The rules we have in place are all detailed in the Scheme for MPs’ Staffing and Business Costs, which clearly sets out the limits of what an MP can claim. All claims must follow four fundamental principles, which are:
Parliamentary: MPs may only claim for expenditure for parliamentary purposes.
Value for Money: MPs must have regard for value for money when making claims.
Accountability: MPs are legally responsible for all money claimed and for managing their budgets and their staff.
Probity: When making claims, MPs must adhere to the MPs’ Code of Conduct, including the seven principles of public life.
You can also read our blogs below to find answers to other commonly asked questions about IPSA.