Each year, MPs are permitted to claim for certain expenditure, such as on staffing, office costs (including accommodation and equipment), and travel.
A wholly-independent body called the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (“IPSA”) regulates this field, and they are the ones who determine how much should be the maximum in each budget. MPs have no involvement in that.
IPSA have just published the annual figures for the 2022-2023 financial year.
Out of 650 MPs, I was amongst the lowest-spending MPs.
As in previous years I am pleased to report that I have significantly underspent my budget for staffing, accommodation and office costs, saving the taxpayer more than £130,000 for the 2022-2023 financial year.
This now means that, since becoming an MP in 2010, I have saved the taxpayer more than £800,000 of my allocated budget. This does not include other huge savings made because I have never claimed for travel costs in my nearly 14 years of service.
I have once again continued my policy of claiming nothing for travel or similar incidentals in the last financial year, faring very well compared to MPs’ average costs and therefore saving substantially more for taxpayers than most MPs.
Indeed, for the 2022-2023 financial year, I have saved the taxpayer more than £130,000 by underspending my allocated budgets.
I always look to save taxpayers’ money wherever possible. During the Covid-19 pandemic for example, MPs were allocated additional funding due to working adjustments resulting from Covid, such as staff having to work from home for long periods. I treat taxpayers’ money with enormous care, and I was able to spend nothing (£0) out of this additional Covid budget.
For example: over the pandemic period, rather than purchase laptops/computers for my staff to work from home, even from my available and existing budget, I borrowed laptops for my staff from the House of Commons authorities for free - at zero cost to the taxpayer - to allow my staff to work remotely when needed.
There is no cap set on the sum which MPs can claim for travel. (This is because the sum claimed will of course vary depending how far a constituency is from Westminster. An MP in the Scottish Highlands will have to spend more on travel to Westminster than an MP in the south of England)
However, since I was first elected in May 2010, I have never claimed anything at all in travel costs.
This means that I have not claimed for any train ticket between Northampton and London; I have not claimed for a single litre of petrol for travelling around Northampton on my parliamentary duties or between London and Northampton; I have not claimed for one taxi journey, not even for bicycle use (which can also be claimed). I have also never claimed anything for the payment of the London Congestion Charge or for parking.
All these costs over the last 14 years I have instead met out of my own salary. My total claims for Travel are therefore £0 again this year.
MPs are permitted to claim for the necessary costs of maintaining an office to serve their constituents. Since becoming an MP in May 2010 I have always massively underspent my annual Budget for Office Costs.
In the last financial year 2022-2023 the Office Budget for all MPs was £28,570 each.
Of that budget this past year I spent only £3,935.78. This means I have underspent my office budget by £24,634.22 in the last financial year.
This is similar to my rate of saving for the taxpayer in all previous financial years since 2010; I have underspent my Budget by well in excess of £15,000 each year. (Full details of my spending in previous years can be found on my website).
MPs are permitted to claim the salaries of staff working for them in their parliamentary duties. An annual Budget of over £200,000 is currently available.
Since becoming an MP in May 2010 I have always significantly underspent my annual Budget for Staffing Costs. Latest figures show that I have continued that practice in this fiscal year.
In the last financial year 2022-2023 the Staffing Budget for all MPs was £221,750.
Of that Budget I have spent £118,338.80. This means I have underspent my staffing budget by £103,411.20 in the last financial year.
I have underspent my budget by many thousands of pounds in each fiscal year and full details of earlier years are on my website.
FOOD AND DRINK:
Until the 2015 General Election MPs were permitted to claim for food and drink at the Houses of Parliament if the House of Commons continued its business past 7.30pm, which it regularly does. This was set at a maximum of £15 per day.
However, since I was first elected in May 2010, I never claimed anything at all in food and drink costs.
This means I met the cost of my own food, and also any hospitality I put on for visiting constituents, from my own salary.
My total claims for food and drink are therefore £0 over the five years from 2010-2015.
Since May 2015 MPs have not been permitted to claim expenses for food and drink, even when the House sits late into the evening, which it still regularly does.
MPs are permitted a budget to pay for their accommodation (unless they live in the Greater London area in which case they cannot claim accommodation costs).
The allowance figure is set at the rate of market rent for a one-bedroom flat in Westminster, which is about £25,000 per annum. (The MP is not permitted to own their own property and then claim rent for the property they own.)
I have normally claimed close to the full amount for accommodation costs because I rent a one-bedroom flat in Westminster, but for the 2022-2023 financial year I underspent my accommodation budget by more than £2,990.
I rent a small, one-bedroom flat in the Westminster area. The rent is paid direct to the Landlord (in my case called the Passion Property Group), and not to me - and I have no personal connections to the landlord.
Office costs maximum allowed budget per MP: £28,570
Michael Ellis MP’s Spend: £3,935.78
Saving to the Taxpayer: £24,634.22
Staffing maximum allowed budget per MP: £221,750
Michael Ellis MP’s Spend: £118,338.80
Saving to the Taxpayer: £103,411.20
Accommodation maximum allowed budget per MP: £25,080
Michael Ellis MP’s Spend: £22,083.25
Saving to the Taxpayer: £2,996.75
Overall, since becoming an MP in 2010, and even excluding additional cost savings by not claiming for my travel, I have saved the taxpayer over the years more than £800,000.
For details of previous annual spending since my election in 2010 please see my website: www.michaelellis.co.uk
You can also check the accuracy of all the above information via the independent IPSA website on https://www.theipsa.org.uk/mp-costs/annual-publication/.
Please note that these figures do not apply to government ministerial duties, which are calculated separately.