Evidence requirements for travel claims - Austin Mitchell MP
In the first part of your request you asked for an explanation of ‘what supporting evidence is required by an MP to justify payment of travel expenses, especially car travel, either on constituency or parliamentary business’ given that the House of Commons does not hold a record of an MPs’ attendance at Parliament.
In order for an MP to comply with IPSA’s MPs’ Expenses Scheme, MPs are required to declare the start and end point of each journey they make, together with the purpose and date of travel. When an MP submits any expense claim they do so under the premise that costs have been ‘incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the parliamentary functions, but not otherwise’.
Where travel is made through the purchase of a ticket, proof of purchase is required as supporting evidence for the claim; this is most commonly in the form of a ticket or a receipt. Where taxi travel is undertaken, a receipt detailing the journey will be requested. Absence of such supporting information would result in the claim not being paid.
Approved claims for car mileage also require and MP to declare the start and end point of each journey they make, together with the purpose and date of travel. Journey distances claimed by MPs will be confirmed for accuracy of specified miles travelled for point to point journeys.
For travel within or close to a MP’s constituency, it is impractical to seek to document each short journey. On a weekend, for example, an MP may be travelling around his/her constituency for several hours on a series of small journeys. Logging each step would be both time consuming and, in practice, impossible to verify with utter certainty. Journeys of this kind are compared and analysed using comparators such as constituency type and size as well as regularity and pattern analysis to determine if the declared mileage falls within reasonable bounds. Any anomalies identified through this analysis would be raised with the MP concerned. For the avoidance of doubt, we have not needed to raise any such concerns with Mr Mitchell.
MPs may also travel more widely outside of their constituency for matters connected with their parliamentary activities, such as matters before the House, matters before a Select Committee on which the MPs serves or matters relating to an issue affecting an MP’s constituency. In such cases, MPs are required to demonstrate that the journey was undertaken for one of these purposes.
Details of the rules for reimbursement of travel expense claims can be found in Chapter Nine: Travel and Subsistence of the MPs’ Expenses Scheme: Third Edition which can be found on the IPSA website.
In the second part of your e-mail, you requested details of the evidence provided for Mr Austin Mitchell MP’s travel and subsistence claims, for the period April 2010 - March 2011.
I can confirm that IPSA does hold this information. Mr Mitchell has claimed £5,931.36 for Travel and Subsistence April 2010 to March 2011. £714.41 of the total amount relates to train travel undertaken by Mr Mitchell. This was all evidenced based on tickets, card receipts, invoices or booking confirmations showing the transaction, date of travel and details of the journey. Car mileage claims were detailed and monitored as described above. A breakdown of each journey, including the date, the type of journey, the start and end locations and the number of miles per journey can be found on the IPSA expenses website.
We publish these details, along with details of other expenses incurred by MPs, once every two months on our publication website. A user guide can also be found on the website to assist you with your search.
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- 19 October 2011
- MPs' TRAVEL
- Exemptions Applied: