Annual publication 2021-22: Our data in context
Date published: 17 November 2022
Each year we publish the final total spending of all MPs against their budgets in the previous financial year, as well as other information such as MPs' salaries, or staff information.
It's tempting to compare MPs against each other to assess their value on how much or how little they have claimed, but such comparisons don’t always reflect the reality of their roles.
In What do MPs spend public money on? we discuss the budgets available to MPs, and in Why does MPs’ spending vary so much? you can read about the range of factors that affect how much MPs need to claim to do their job.
To view the latest data, visit MPs’ staffing and business costs.
These are claims made by MPs to cover the business costs they incur while carrying out their parliamentary duties.
For more information visit our Guide to MPs’ claims.
The payments are for goods or services supplied to MPs such as rent, travel and stationery. All claims must be compliant with our rules and accompanied by evidence.
Business costs are not part of an MP’s pay.
Our blog – MPs’ business costs aren’t expenses – explains the nature of the costs and why they’re essential for MPs to fulfil their parliamentary work.
The majority – 77% – of MPs’ costs are for their staff.
The Staffing budget allows MPs to recruit a small team to help them support their constituents.
Typically MPs employ around five full-time equivalent members of staff to help respond to requests from local people, resolve issues and represent their needs in Parliament.
|Budget type||Spend amount||Overall %|
|Travel and subsistence||£4.3m||3.01%|
MPs are not allowed to claim for personal costs.
They can’t claim the cost of food and drink in their normal working day, although they can claim a modest amount of subsistence of £25 per day if they are away from London or their constituency for parliamentary purposes. This is similar to what happens in other jobs where you are required to travel on business.
MPs can’t claim for their daily commute to work at either their constituency office or the Houses of Parliament.
For those MPs with constituencies beyond London, they can claim the costs of travel to London to represent their constituents. MPs can claim the cost of other journeys for parliamentary purposes.
They also can’t claim the cost of a second home. Non-London MPs can only claim for hotels, rented accommodation or associated costs in either London or their constituency while they fully fund their accommodation in the other location.
Since the 2009 expenses scandal, we have provided robust regulation and transparent rules to make sure claims are legitimate.
Almost 600 of the current 650 MPs joined Parliament in the years since 2009, and the IPSA system is all they have ever known.
Although the total amount of MPs' staffing and business costs may appear to be high – higher than many of us spend in a year – each MP represents around 70,000 people in their constituencies and often work between two locations.
Our data tells us that claims made by MPs are 99.89% compliant with our rules and that the small proportion of non-compliance is often the result of mistakes or misunderstandings.
How to review the data
Reviewing the total spend data to assess the value of your MP can be difficult. For example, you need to consider how many staff your MP employs and the sorts of jobs they perform.
Events over the past year might also have affected people in your area and your MP might have needed to ask staff to work overtime or to bring in extra staff to provide support.
If your MP has a constituency office, you should consider how expensive it is to rent an office in your area and examine how the Office Costs budget has been used to provide information and support through digital or print channels, or by hosting local meetings and events.
When looking at the Travel budget you should consider how far your constituency is from Westminster and how many journeys your MP made locally to meet constituents or further afield to support their parliamentary work.
With the Accommodation budget, consider how many nights your MP spent away from home in a hotel or rented accommodation while having to work from two locations.
IPSA is dedicated to independently setting, administering, and regulating MPs' business costs.
Given the unique circumstances of their roles and the safeguards we have in place, the best way to assess the value of your MP is to focus on the impact they have within your constituency and the service they provide to the people they represent.