MP's Expenses - The Facts!

There is much misinformation about the expenses that Members of Parliament (MPs) are entitled to. I have created this webpage in the interest of transparency to try and dispel any myths that might occur.

Since 2010, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has been responsible for determining the level of MP pay and setting the level of any increases. Established by statute, IPSA is independent of Parliament and the Government. This means that MPs no longer set the level of salaries nor the rules.

IPSA has decided that MPs’ salaries would be benchmarked against average pay rises for the public sector. Changes in MPs pay would take effect in the April of each year, based on changes to public sector pay in the previous October. This means MPs’ pay reflect developments in the wider economy rather than drive them.

Budgets: MPs are allocated a budget to employ staff and competently carry out their duties. This falls into various categories:

  • The Staffing Budget largely covers payroll costs but can also be used for pooled staffing services and incidental expenses for volunteers. It is paid directly to the employee via IPSA and does not go into the Member of Parliament’s own bank account. In just over two years, staff have worked on over 20,000 individual cases. My staff assist with casework, correspondence, surgeries, visits, meetings, organising events, and outreach activities. 
  • IPSA also covers office costs to rent, equip, and run an office and surgeries. This includes rent, stationery, telephone, broadband, and other costs that are associated with running an office and communicating with constituents. I chose to locate my office in Chapel Ash, the heart of my constituency. This enables me to best serve my constituents in the Wolverhampton South West.
  • An accommodation budget is designed to meet costs incurred by MPs as a result of working from two permanent locations. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, it is usually only possible to claim for accommodation and associated costs in either the constituency or London, not both. I am required to be in Parliament for the first part of every week to fulfil duties such as voting, attending meetings, asking Ministers questions, and other duties. Sittings often run very late into the evening and meetings can commence early in the day. I then return to the constituency.
  • The Travel and Subsistence Allowance is for travel between the constituency and Westminster, within the constituency, and elsewhere on parliamentary business. MPs must consider value for the taxpayer when booking rail tickets. 
  • MPs may only claim for the cost of food and non-alcoholic drinks where they have stayed overnight either outside the London area or their constituency. This is limited to £25 for each night they have stayed but can be for purchases made in the day. I have never claimed any expenses for food and drinks in Parliament.

Any over-run on these budget limits at the end of the year has to be repaid to IPSA by the MP. I have always kept within the specified limits and have not had any discrepancies with any of my expenses.