Michael Ellis MPs Expenses: Annual Update
As in previous years I am pleased to report that I have significantly underspent my budget for staffing, accommodation and office costs and continued my policy of claiming nothing for travel or similar incidentals in the last financial year. This year I have made record savings on my office and accommodation costs.
For the 2017-2018 financial year, I have saved the taxpayer over £50,000 by underspending my allocated budget.
Overall, over the 8 years I have been the MP for Northampton North, when all my annual underspending is added-up I have saved the taxpayer over £380,000 by underspending my budgets.
Members of Parliament are allowed under the rules to claim expenses for things such as Travel Costs, Staff Salaries, Office Costs, Accommodation and, until 2015, Food and Drink.
The figures are collated by an independent body called IPSA (Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority), which was set up in the wake of the 2009 MPs’ Expenses scandal.
IPSA have just published their latest annual update (available online).
Below I give some of the latest figures as they relate to my own record as the MP for Northampton North. Please note that these figures do not apply to my duties as a Government Minister- I have incurred other costs as a Minister and these are calculated separately.
Here are the details:
There is no cap set on the sum which MPs can claim for travel. (This sum of course will vary depending how far a constituency is from Westminster).
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.
All of these costs over the last 8.5 years I have met out of my own salary. My total claims for Travel are therefore £0 again this year.
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.
MPs are permitted to claim for the necessary costs of maintaining an office to serve their constituents. A budget in the region of £24,000 per annum is available for each MP.
Since becoming an MP in May 2010 I have always massively underspent my annual Budget for Office Costs. Latest figures show that I have continued to underspend this year:
In the last financial year 2017-2018 the Office Budget for all MP’s was £24,150 each.
Of that budget I spent only £3,263.59. This means I have underspent my office budget by over £20,000 in the last financial year – the highest yearly saving ever on my office costs.
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 over £15,000 each year. (Full details of previous year’s spending 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 in the region of £150,000 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 2017-2018 the Staffing Budget for all MP’s was £150,900.
Of that Budget I have spent £119,952.37. This means I have underspent my staffing budget by over £30,000.
This is similar to my rate of saving for the taxpayer in all previous financial years- where I have underspent my budget by many thousands of pounds in each fiscal year. (Full details of earlier years are on my website.)
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 £22,000 per annum. The MP is not permitted to own a property and then claim rent for it.
I have normally claimed the full amount for accommodation costs but for the 2017-2018 financial year I saved just over £2,000 for the taxpayer.
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.
You can also check all the above information via the independent IPSA website on https://www.theipsa.org.uk/mp-costs/your-mp/michael-ellis/.