Why we fund certain utility bills

Date published: 14 October 2022


It is often thought MPs can claim all their utility bills, and that there is no limit to the amount they can claim.

In fact, we only pay utility bills in certain circumstances – such as for constituency offices or accommodation when an MP has to work from two different locations – and there are strict rules that determine what MPs can and can’t claim.

MPs pay their own utility bills

Like the rest of us, MPs pay utility bills for their own homes.

IPSA pays utility bills for the accommodation of non-London MPs when they stay away from home, and for their constituency offices.

This is to ensure people aren’t put off becoming an MP by the thought of paying a second set of utility costs – as well as utility costs for an office – on top of the costs for their own home.

The funding we provide means MPs pay for one set of utility bills, while we fund the bills related to their parliamentary work.

Constituency offices

An MP’s constituency office provides a place for their staff to work and for them to meet local people.

We pay utility bills for constituency offices from the MP’s Office Costs budget.

This budget also covers rent, office equipment and other costs for the MP to provide a service to their constituents.


We pay the utility costs for MPs’ work accommodation.

Secondary accommodation is only available for MPs who are based outside of London and is provided so they can work from both Westminster and their constituency.

This accommodation is vital to ensure all MPs can fulfil their parliamentary duties regardless of how far their constituency is from London.

You can find out more in our blog Why do MPs need an accommodation budget? and about the rules on what MPs can and can’t claim in the Scheme of MPs’ Staffing and Business Costs.

There are limits to what MPs can claim

We do not provide unlimited amounts of funding for utility bills either for an MP’s constituency office or secondary accommodation.

Utility bills are one of a variety of business costs provided for through an MP’s Office Costs or Accommodation budgets.

MPs must spend carefully to ensure they do not exceed these budgets, and if they do, they are required to make a repayment.

MPs often employ an office manager to ensure their staff are properly equipped and that costs are within budget. They can track how much they are spending by using our online system.

You can find out more about how MPs make claims in our Guide to MPs’ claims.

Business costs are necessary for democracy to function

IPSA was established to regulate the public money provided to MPs, as well as make sure MPs are appropriately funded to carry out their jobs.

This is fundamentally important for democracy: without sufficient funding, MPs would not be able to focus on the important work of supporting and representing their constituents.

If MPs had to fund this themselves, only independently wealthy people could afford to become an MP.


We have a three-stage validation process to regulate MPs’ spending.

For more information on this, read our blog How do we safeguard public money?

Each year, after the financial year ends on 31 March, we carry out a year-end process to ensure MPs have stayed within budget or calculate if they need to repay money to IPSA.

We work closely with MPs throughout the year to avoid budget overspending.

Utility costs in context

Without context, hearing that MPs can claim for their utility bills seems unfair. Hopefully knowing the rules around these claims, and the measures in place to avoid overspending, reassures you these costs are necessary for MPs to carry out their parliamentary duties and all spending is regulated effectively to safeguard public money.