What is the Members Estimate?
The House of Commons is funded by two separate public spending budgets or Estimates. The House of Commons Administration Estimate pays for the staff of the House and its running costs. The Members Estimate covers MPs' pay and allowances. Levels of pay and allowances are recommended by the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) and are put to the House of Commons by the Government. MPs then debate the recommendations and vote to agree the final Estimate.
What is the Members Estimate Committee (MEC)?
The Members Estimate Committee considers matters relating to MPs' pay and oversees the rules for MPs' allowances on behalf of the House of Commons. It was established by Standing Order No. 152D passed on 29 January 2004. The Committee normally meets once a month, in private, at the same time as the House of Commons Commission, whose membership is identical.
Why is it different from the Commission?
The House of Commons Commission is a body set up by statute to deal with the administration of the House of Commons which is funded by the Administration Estimate. The MEC deals with matters relating to MPs' pay and allowances which is funded by the separate Members Estimate.
Who are the Members of the MEC?
The Speaker, the Leader of the House (Harriet Harman) and the Shadow Leader of the House (Alan Duncan - nominated by the Leader of the Opposition) are members of the Commission and MEC by virtue of their jobs.
The three backbench MPs on the Committee are nominated by their parties and appointed by the House. They are Sir Stuart Bell MP (Labour), Nick Harvey MP (Lib Dem) and David Maclean MP (Conservative).
How long have they been members of the Commission/MEC?
Sir Stuart Bell - since 2000
Alan Duncan - since 2009
Nick Harvey - since 2005
David Maclean - since 2005
Harriet Harman - since 2007
What are the main functions of the MEC?
The Committee's main functions are to:
codify and keep under review the provisions of the Resolutions of the House of Commons relating to expenditure charged to the Estimate for the House of Commons: Members, and to modify those provisions from time to time as the Committee may think necessary or desirable in the interests of clarity, consistency, accountability and effective administration, and conformity with current circumstances, but without creating a new form of charge on the Estimate or increasing any rate of change or payment determined by Resolution of the House
to provide advice, when requested by the Speaker, on the application of those provisions in individual cases
to carry out the responsibilities conferred on the Speaker by the Resolution of the House of 5 July 2001, in relation to directions as to the application of the provisions of that Resolution, and authorisation of expenditure not otherwise specified in the ambit of the Members Estimate.
What is the Members Estimate Audit Committee?
The Members Estimate Audit Committee was established by the Members Estimate Committee in June 2004. The Committee's responsibilities include general oversight of the work of internal audit and review relating to the Members Estimate. The Committee also receives and considers reports from the Internal Audit Service (IA), together with external audit material relating to the Members Estimate.