The independent body which monitors MP’s expenses (IPSA) releases the annual summary of expense accounts of each Member of Parliament on an annual basis. Soon afterwards I give an update on my own overall figures in an edition of my fortnightly E-Newsletter.
Whilst we await the latest IPSA figures I thought it would be useful to give some more in-depth information about MPs’ Parliamentary expenses and my position with regards to them.
Please note that the below figures relate to my role as MP for Northampton North, and not my role as a government minister. There have been travel and other expenses utilized in my ministerial role as Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism.
Road Expenses: AMOUNT CLAIMED: £0
As an MP I am able to claim expenses for every mile I travel in my car on non-personal business. I could claim 45p per mile for the first 10,000 miles and 25p per mile thereafter. The 140 mile round trip between Northampton and Westminster would allow me to claim around £60 in expenses each time.
However in the eight years I have been an MP I have NEVER claimed ANY of these costs. I pay for all of my petrol, and wear to my vehicle, from my own salary. This will have saved the taxpayer thousands of pounds over the years.
Taxis: AMOUNT CLAIMED: £0
MPs are allowed to claim for taxi journeys in certain circumstances. In the eight years I have been an MP I have never claimed for ANY taxi journey.
Trains: AMOUNT CLAIMED: £0
As an MP I am able to claim for train journeys to and from Northampton; MP’s can be reimbursed at the rate of an ‘anytime standard open ticket’.
Again in the eight years I have been an MP I have NEVER claimed for ANY train journey as MP for Northampton North.
Congestion Charge: AMOUNT CLAIMED: £0
It is possible for me to claim the £11.50 London congestion charge. I could also claim back certain parking and toll charges.
Again I have NEVER claimed for ANY such charges in the eight years I have been an MP.
Food: AMOUNT CLAIMED: £0
In the past it was possible for MP’s to claim food expenses when the House of Commons sat beyond 7.30pm, which it still does frequently.
I never did claim any food expenses. All food, including when I entertain visitors, comes out of my salary. (Food claims are no longer permitted, but my practice of not claiming anything for five years will have saved thousands of pounds of taxpayer’s money).
Accommodation: AMOUNT CLAIMED: FULL
If a Member of Parliament lives outside Greater London (I live in Northampton) they are able to claim the rent equivalent to a one-bedroom flat in central London. This was around £20,000 per annum for the 2016-2017 financial year. The MP is not allowed to own the property or be connected to the landlord to whom the rent is being paid.
I do claim the full amount for a one bedroom flat in London, and the money is paid directly to the landlord (Passion Property Group). On my salary as an MP it would not be possible to keep two homes. However, I have not claimed any such expenses for my own home in Northampton.
Office Budget: OVERALL AMOUNT UNDERSPENT: £118,000 (SOON TO BE UPDATED)
In order to claim Office expenses, MPs are required to purchase the necessary item for their office and provide a receipt, after which a claim may be allowed.
I have claimed what I feel to be necessary and responsible in order to run my parliamentary office. In each of the eight years I have been an MP this has NEVER required me to ‘max out’ my budget and I always avoid wasteful spending.
For the last available financial year 2016-2017 the Office Budget for all MP’s was £23,450 each. Of that budget I spent only £6,854.12. This means I have underspent my office budget by over £16,000 in the 2016-2017 financial year. I have underspent well over £10,000 a year on average from the maximum allowed, and over the years this has amounted to savings to the public purse of well over £100,000. When the latest figures are released I expect this savings figure to rise.
Staff Costs: OVERALL AMOUNT UNDERSPENT: £215,000 (SOON TO BE UPDATED)
I run a busy parliamentary office answering hundreds of pieces of correspondence from constituents each week. In order for me to respond promptly and effectively I require the assistance of my hardworking team. Though I have a duty to run an effective office I still keep the costs as reasonable as possible and try to make all of the savings possible when hiring staff. I carry out proper and lengthy processes to ensure all of my parliamentary staff are suitable to deal with sensitive cases.
Over the years I have always significantly underspent the maximum allowed staffing budget. This has meant that in the eight years I have been an MP the taxpayer has saved well over £215,000 by me not spending everything I was allowed to spend on staff salaries. When the latest figures are released I expect this figure to rise.
For the 2016-2017 financial year, I have saved the taxpayer over £37,000 by underspending my allocated staffing budget.
In summary, my ethos is to save the tax payer money at every opportunity.
Overall, I have saved the taxpayer over £300,000 during the eight years I have been an MP.
I intend to publish my latest full expenses record soon after the release of the figures by IPSA in November. Those figures will take account of the most recent financial year.
More information can be found on the IPSA website by clicking on the following link: http://www.theipsa.org.uk/.
For details of previous annual spending since my election in 2010 please see my website: www.michaelellis.co.uk
In the meantime I hope readers find this general information helpful. In the interests of full transparency I would like to emphasise that other expenses have been incurred by me in my role as a government minister and these are not listed here.
If you would like more detail about any of the above, or have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to email me.