OTHER

Criteria for seeking repayment of 2009/10 allowance claims from Members

23 November 2010

On 22 November the Committee agreed to publish the criteria it has agreed for determining whether to seek repayment of 2009/10 allowance claims from Members.

General principle

The House will seek to recover monies from Members where supporting evidence has not been provided, as required under the Green Book and requested, and there is either:

a)  direct evidence that an incorrect payment may have been made; or
b)  no alternative evidence in support of the existence and accuracy of the underlying transaction.

In cases where there is evidence of the general nature of the transaction, no recovery will be sought unless there is direct evidence of a material over-payment (ie above de minimis level). 

Claims made by Members under investigation by the police will not be tested in this way, because it would not be appropriate to make any decisions on the regularity of such payments before legal proceedings have concluded, and they are already specifically excluded from the scope of the NAO work and will be disclosed as a gross figure.

Mortgage interest  

Payments for mortgage interest for second homes will be recovered where all of the following conditions apply:

a)  The most recent annual mortgage statement is overdue by at least two months
b)  No other documentation is held on file to support the existence of the mortgage during 2009/10
c)  The payment is not consistent with evidence of payments in recent years
d)  The total sum paid in 2009/10 was greater than £1,000

Home rentals 

Payments for rent for second homes will be recovered where all of the following conditions apply:

a)  An up to date lease is not held on file
b)  No other documentation is held on file to support the existence of the tenancy
c)  The payment is not consistent with evidence of payments in recent years
d)  The total sum paid in 2009/10 was greater than £1,000

Office rentals

Payments for office accommodation will be recovered where either all of (a) to (c) or (d) apply:

a)  An up to date lease is not held on file
b)  No other documentation is held on file to support the existence of the tenancy
c)  The discrepancy between the annual payment and the most recent version of the lease held is greater than £2,500
d)  Where the accommodation is rented from a political organisation, a recent valuation is not held on file or the discrepancy between the annual payment and the most recent valuation is greater than £2,500

Staff salaries

Payments for staff salaries will be recovered where both of the following conditions apply:

a)  An up to date contract is not held on file
b)  No other documentation (such as a job description, or authority to pay signed by the Member) is held on file to support the existence of the member of staff

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