All Members of Parliament are able to claim expenses whilst undertaking their work as an MP to enable them to support their constituents to the best of their ability.
Rules around expenses are set by an independent body, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. They assess each claim and make a decision on whether it is acceptable or not. Only expenses which they deem acceptable, and within the rules, will be paid. These rules can be found here: https://www.theipsa.org.uk/media/1608/9-mps-scheme-of-business-costs-and-expenses-2017-18.pdf.
IPSA periodically publish details of all expenses claimed. You can see the expenses I have claimed here each time they are published: http://www.theipsa.org.uk/mp-costs/your-mp/lee-rowley/.
I want to be as transparent and open as possible with constituents on expenses. As a result, I have set out a general approach I intend to follow for expense claims. If you have any questions on the below, please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.
Personal Accommodation Costs
As a non-London MP, I am entitled to receive the costs of renting a property or a hotel room either in North East Derbyshire or when I am in London in Parliament. This could be up to a maximum of £22,760 a year (if choosing the London accommodation option) or £15,850 (if choosing the constituency accommodation option). Currently, I have chosen not to claim for rent or hotels in either location.
Personal Household Bills
MPs who do not claim for a rent or hotel rooms are allowed to claim for some household bills (covering gas, electric, water, council tax, some insurance, broadband connection, telephone connection). The maximum budget is £5,000. I will claim for some bills for the property where I live when in London.
A budget is available to rent and equip offices in the constituency and at Parliament to support, help and assist local residents. This budget has a maximum of £24,850. I have opened an office in Eckington and will claim rental and running costs for this office and one I have in Parliament.
New MPs also received a one-off additional budget of £6,000 to go towards setting up the offices. I used this on primarily purchasing computers for staff in London and Eckington. Computers are purchased through the approved Parliamentary supplier and at the standard rates made available by that supplier to MPs.
MPs are able to recruit staff to support them in their parliamentary and constituency work up to a maximum of £153,620 each year. As an MP, I want an office that is an open and helpful to local residents as possible and so I have a strong team available to support you which is paid for from this budget.
Supporting those who undertake work experience or volunteer work in the parliamentary office
Along with salaried staff, we also are very happy to support those who wish to undertake parliamentary work experience in a parliamentary office. Under the IPSA rules these are volunteers and they are entitled to claim for a small amount of travel and food expenses on a daily basis and we will submit claims for them when appropriate. The maximum amount which can be claimed by each volunteer is £20 per day.
IPSA allows MPs to claim for travel between London and the constituency and also for mileage incurred for parliamentary activities within North East Derbyshire.
Travel between North East Derbyshire and Parliament
For travel to and from the constituency, I almost always travel by train so I can spend more time working.
IPSA allow train tickets of up to £98.50 to be claimed for a single fare between Chesterfield and London. I try to avoid buying full price tickets and shop around for advance deals where possible. Depending upon the deals available from East Midlands Trains, I will travel a mixture of standard and first class. Other than the day after I was elected, I always use the House of Commons Travel service when booking to ensure I am within the rules. Sometimes, due to last minutes changes as to when Parliament is sitting or when the diary changes, I will have to purchase a full price ticket or change the times of an existing ticket (which incurs a cost) – but I will try to avoid doing so where possible.
Using a rough guide of 20 train tickets used between June and October 2017, the average cost of travel is around £52 each way.
Occasionally, staff members based in the constituency will visit the London office (or vice versa). They will claim train tickets in the same way as above. My partner will also travel sometimes and will claim tickets in the same way as above.
MPs are also able to claim for travel within London the tube. I have chosen not to claim for any tube fares.
Travel within the constituency
MPs are able to claim mileage within the constituency when undertaking constituency duties. I will claim for some, but not all, journeys taken in the constituency.
Out of hours travel
MPs are also able to claim for taxis if the House of Commons finishes late. I have chosen not to claim for any taxi fares.
Room Hire in the constituency
As part of my parliamentary duties, I hold regular surgeries and open meetings around the constituency and rent village halls and community centres at standard costs to do so.