MPs who employ family members
The term ‘connected party’ is defined in the MPs’ Scheme of Business Costs and Expenses (‘the Scheme’) as:
A spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner of the member;
parent, child, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece of the member or of a spouse, civil partner or cohabiting partner of the member; or
a body corporate, a firm or a trust with which the MP is connected as defined in section 252 of the Companies Act 2006.
The information contained in our response to your FOI request relates to ‘connected parties’ as defined by the Scheme, which includes but does not separately identify ‘family members’. IPSA began operations on 7 May 2010 and does not hold any information relating to parliamentary personnel or claims made or processed prior to that date.
MPs must complete a connected party declaration when employing staff members, stating whether the employee is or is not a connected party, as defined by the Scheme. According to our records, on the date of your request, 15 February 2013, there were 150 Members of Parliament with connected parties.
The number of MPs who employ individuals who fit the criteria for a connected party for each financial year is follows:
2010/11 – 136
2011/12 – 146
2012/13 (as of 15 February 2013) – 155
We publish annualised data that includes the names of all MPs who have declared to IPSA that they employ a connected party and the name of that connected party. This annualised data can be found via this link to our publication website. The annualised data for 2010/11 and 2011/12 is already available on our website and the annualised data for 2012/13 will be published later this year.
Taking the second part of your request, the cost to the taxpayer of connected parties can be incurred through two primary means: salary and expenses claimed in support of parliament duties of the MP.
Salary information for each connected party is contained in the annualised data, available on our website. This information takes the form of salary bandings, rather than precise salaries. In IPSA’s view, information identifying the precise salaries of individuals is exempt under section 40(2) as the information constitutes third party data.
Section 40(2) provides that personal data about third parties is exempt information if one of the conditions set out in section 40(3) is satisfied. Under the FOI Act disclosure of this information would breach the fair processing principle (Principle 1) of the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), where it would be unfair to those persons or is confidential.
The total annual figure for salaries for staff employed by MPs who have been declared as connected parties for each financial year is as follows:
2010/11 – £3,125,236.04
2011/12 – £3,346,280.42
2012/13 (as of 15 February 2013) – £2,949,436.20
All members of staff, including connected parties, are eligible to submit claims for legitimate expenses in line with the Scheme. The most commonly claimed expense type for MPs’ staff is travel, reflecting the work that often takes place between MPs’ constituency and Westminster offices. The Scheme clearly lays out the rules in terms of connected parties. We would wish to make clear that claims for expenses for staff members are not received on top of their salary, but a reimbursement of legitimate expenses incurred in the performance of their duties in support of the Member of Parliament.
We publish all claims for business costs and expenses on our website. Details of claims for expenses are published in a two month cycle, three months in arrears. You may view the published information by visiting our publication website, which can be searched to extract details of expenses incurred by members of staff. Below, at paragraph 7, we set out the total annual figure for business costs and expenses incurred by staff members who are connected parties.
The total annual figure for reimbursement of business costs and expenses incurred by MPs’ staff who are connected parties for each financial year is as follows:
2010/11 – £38,117.79
2011/12 – £41,740.48
2012/13 (Expenses for year to date) – £37,790.94
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- 15 March 2013
- MPs' CONNECTED PARTIES
- Exemptions Applied: