A guide to MPs’ claims

Date published: 10 August 2022

Guide to MPs’ claims blog

The fact that MPs are allowed to make claims is well known, but what the claims are for, how they’re made, and how they’re regulated is less newsworthy.

In our article MPs' business costs aren’t expenses we explain why MPs’ claims aren’t like the expenses some people claim to carry out their job.

MPs claim for the costs incurred to run a small business supporting and representing their constituents – around 70,000 people on average.

In this post, we look at the different budgets available to MPs, how claims are made, and how IPSA monitors them.

All claims must be for parliamentary purposes and in compliance with the rules of the Scheme of MPs’ Staffing and Business Costs.


August Blog 01

Reason for funding

For MPs to employ staff to support constituents and assist the MP with their parliamentary duties.

How the claim is made

Salaries are paid directly to staff members by IPSA. Each MPs’ staff member must be registered with us and have a job title and salary within our categories and pay bands. The staffing budget includes salaries and other costs such as National Insurance and pension contributions. The staffing budget also provides funding for training and staff wellbeing.

How these claims are regulated

MPs are the employers of their staff and have discretion over who they employ. MPs have not been able to employ new connected parties (i.e., close family members) since 2017, although connected parties employed before that date were able to remain in their jobs. Each MP’s staffing budget is capped and staffing costs above the limit must be repaid to IPSA.

Office costs

August Blog 02

Reason for funding

To enable MPs to have a constituency office to support constituents and provide a location for their staff to work. The Office Costs budget also covers other activities to support the MPs’ parliamentary functions where the costs are not covered by other budgets under the Scheme such as purchasing equipment, buying stationery and hiring a venue to hold surgeries.

How claims are made

Office costs can be claimed in three ways:

  1. A reimbursement claim – the cost is paid by the MP or staff member and reclaimed from IPSA using our online finance portal – IPSA Online.

  2. Using the IPSA payment card.

  3. Through direct payments to approved suppliers.

How these claims are regulated

Claims are subject to our three-tiered validation process. You can read more about the process in our article How we safeguard public money. All claims must be accompanied by evidence and claims found not to be compliant are not paid by IPSA or must be repaid by the MP.

If the MP used their payment card, they have to reconcile this each month, including evidence, or their payment card is suspended. Payments to direct suppliers are automatically allocated to the MPs’ budget.

The Office Costs budget is also capped so the MP must make sure they stay within their budget or they will have to repay money at the end of the financial year.

Reimbursement claims

Claims must be made within 90 days of the cost being incurred. Claims are submitted through IPSA Online with a reason for the claim and evidence such as receipt or invoice.

Payment cards

Payment card transactions are sent to MPs each month for them to reconcile through IPSA Online by submitting the reason for the claim and evidence, such as a receipt or invoice.


August Blog 03

Reason for funding

Most MPs are required to work from two locations – their constituency and London. To enable them to do this without being out of pocket, we fund accommodation in one or other of those places while the MP fully funds their accommodation in the other location.

You can read more about this in Why MPs need an accommodation budget.

How the claim is made

Non-London MPs can claim for hotels, rental accommodation or associated costs in either London or their constituency. Hotel costs are either made as a reimbursement claim or using the MP payment card. Rent is paid directly to the landlord who is registered with us. Associated costs, not including mortgage or mortgage interest payments, are claimed as reimbursements.

How these claims are regulated

We have a dedicated Homes, Offices, and Security Team to help MPs make accommodation claims within the rules. There are limits on how much MPs can claim for hotel costs and the Accommodation budget is capped – so MPs must stay within the budget or they will have to repay money at the end of the year.

MPs are not allowed to claim rental costs for properties they own or those owned by someone connected to them. We review tenancy agreements (for rent), or deed/mortgage statements (for associated costs), before allowing payments or claims to be made. In the case of rented properties, we also check the landlord for any connection to the MP. Rent claims by MPs or payments made directly by IPSA on the MP’s behalf can only be made up to the amount and frequency specified in the agreement which is recorded on our system. A proportion of all accommodation claims are checked by our validation officers for compliance.

Travel and Subsistence

August Blog 04

Reason for funding

As non-London MPs work from two locations, we provide funding for them, their staff and their families to travel between the constituency and London and also for MPs to travel around the UK to fulfil their parliamentary duties. Travel costs also cover the cost of the MP travelling within their constituency as part of their parliamentary role. We don’t fund travel for MPs to commute between their accommodation and work in either their constituency or London and we don’t fund travel for party political purposes such as attending the annual party conferences or campaigning.

How the claim is made

These claims are either paid directly to a travel supplier, as a reimbursement claim or using the IPSA payment card. Claims can be made for public transport, mileage, car hire or taxi costs if there are no other reasonable methods of transport or if the MP is working past 10pm. MPs can also claim the cost of a hotel and subsistence if they have to stay overnight away from London and their constituency for work.

How these claims are regulated

Travel and subsistence claims are regulated by our three-tier validation process. The Travel and Subsistence budget is uncapped so there are no barriers to MPs, their staff and their families travelling when necessary.


August Blog 05

Reason for funding

Personal security is vitally important for MPs, their staff and their families. We fund all recommended security measures to keep MPs, their staff and their families safe.

How the claim is made

This cost is paid directly to the security services provider arranged by the Members Security Service in the House of Commons. MPs are also able to claim for routine security items (like locks) from their Office Costs budget and claim the costs through reimbursement or using the IPSA payment card.

How these claims are regulated

Our dedicated Homes, Offices and Security team work with the House of Commons and the security provider to ensure that security funding is spent within the IPSA rules and recommendations from the security experts. The security budget is uncapped so there is no barrier to MPs getting the security measures they need. The costs are published in aggregate to reduce risk to the MP, their staff and their families.


August Blog 06i

Reason for funding

to provide MPs and their staff with the necessary disability support to enable them to carry out their roles. The funding also provides reasonable adjustments to volunteers, job applicants and constituents visiting the office.

How the claim is made

These costs are made by reimbursement claim or using the IPSA payment card.

How these claims are regulated

Disability costs are subject to the usual validation process and we commission disability assessments where needed. The Disability budget is uncapped so there is no barrier to MPs and their staff getting the support they need. The costs are published in aggregate to protect the privacy of MPs and their staff.

Legitimacy and value for money

All the ways that MPs make claims are regulated by us to ensure claims are legitimate and public money is being well spent.

MPs are overwhelmingly compliant with the rules and are keen to provide value for money to the taxpayer.

For further information read our blogs Why does MPs’ spending vary so much and All you need to know about annual publication.