Why do MPs need an accommodation budget?
Date published: 11 April 2022
We are committed to supporting a representative parliament, where candidates without the private finances to fund working from two locations should not be prevented from becoming an MP.
When someone is elected to be a member of Parliament, they become responsible for supporting their constituents and representing their views and needs within Parliament.
For the 577 out of 650 MPs with constituencies outside London, this means they will now have to travel regularly from their constituency to attend meetings, debates, and votes within the Palace of Westminster.
MPs’ second homes are not a luxury or a “perk”, they are necessary for an MP to do their job. The IPSA Accommodation budget is there to ensure that MPs are not out of pocket from having to work in two locations.
Not all MPs receive an accommodation budget. MPs in the London area and Ministers given accommodation because of their role (for example, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer) do not receive an accommodation budget from us.
MPs representing constituencies outside London spend a lot of time far away from home. Work in Westminster often involves long, unsociable hours, and commuting great distances every day is not a workable option for many MPs.
To help with this, the Scheme of MPs’ Staffing and Business Costs offers non-London MPs the choice between staying in a hotel, renting accommodation, or claiming associated costs for a property they own.
If an MP decides to use rented accommodation, they must register the property with us. We only pay accommodation costs once we have seen a contract, and we normally set up direct payments to the landlord.
MPs should have a two-month break clause in their contract in case they cease to be an MP for any reason as they will be liable for any costs incurred two months after they leave their post.
MPs can also decide to stay in a hotel. The price per night is currently capped at £190 in London and £150 in the rest of the UK. This can only be claimed instead of renting a property or claiming for associated costs.
We will cover associated costs for non-London MPs who own their second accommodation. This compensates for the additional costs of increased use such as energy, utilities, internet and council tax. We do not pay MPs’ mortgages or mortgage interest.
The accommodation budget for 2022-23 is £25,080 for renting in London, and £17,840 for outside of London.
A family-friendly parliament
We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to be an MP, and this includes those with caring responsibilities.
As representatives of our democracy MPs should receive support in performing their role while caring for dependants.
This is why we provide an uplift to the accommodation budget for MPs who are primary caregivers so that they have the space to stay together.
A representative parliament
Covering accommodation costs is an essential part of helping politics to become accessible to all. Without the accommodation budget, an MP would either have to work in only one location or pay for a second accommodation themselves.
This would prevent people from lower-income backgrounds from becoming MPs. It is vital for our democracy that we have a representative, functioning parliament, and we are committed to providing the financial support necessary for this to happen.
For most MPs, working from two locations is a challenge they are willing to accept to fully perform the duty of representing their constituents. Most employees who are required to travel for work would be reimbursed for costs they incur and, like everyone else, MPs still need to fully fund the accommodation in one of the locations themselves.
The budgets we provide to MPs do not form part of their salary, it is funding to cover the costs they incur while performing their parliamentary function and providing this funding ensures that there are no financial barriers to anyone becoming an MP.