The Speaker, in the Chair
Sir Stuart Bell
Leader of the House
Mr David Maclean
Sir George Young
1. REVIEW OF PAST ACA PAYMENTS (MEC)
The Committee agreed to ask Sir Thomas Legg to continue to process the cases of those Members and former Members who have not yet provided all the mortgage information requested until such time as the appeal process under Sir Paul Kennedy is completed, and then to make recommendations about repayments by all such Members and former Members based on the information in his possession at that time. Those affected were to be informed by letter of this decision. The Committee agreed that the deadlines of 17 December at 3 pm for notice of intention to appeal and 23 December at 3 pm for providing grounds of appeal would not be extended.
The Committee confirmed that any Members or former Members who died between the start of Sir Thomas Legg's review and the delivery of Sir Thomas's report to the Committee should not be covered in the report.
The Commission agreed that a nursery facility for children of Members, Members' staff and House staff should be established in 1 Parliament Street and begin operating in September 2010, on the basis of seeking to recover the full running cost from users. There would be an advisory panel of Members for the project.
3. ADMINISTRATION ESTIMATE: THREE-YEAR PLAN
The Commission approved the three-year financial strategy, the resource-based Administration Estimate for 2010/11 and the broad approach proposed in the draft Corporate Business Plan.
4. RULES FOR DELEGATION AND SELECT COMMITTEE TRAVEL EXPENDITURE
The Commission agreed that the practice of allowing members of delegations to international parliamentary assemblies to claim for the cost of two tickets under certain circumstances should end with effect from 1 February 2010.
5. FOI (Commission/MEC)
The Commission agreed to disclose the names of individuals from the Association of Former MPs and the Industry and Parliament Trust who had held parliamentary passes in 2007, following a ruling by the Information Commissioner.
The Committee agreed that the planned January publication should go ahead without the scans for IEP and Communications Expenditure, which there would not be sufficient time for Members to check; that all the remaining scans and other material for 2008/09 and 2009/10 would be published in May/June and October; and that a list of repayments made up to about 18 December would be published in January with any explanations of them which Members offered.
The Committee agreed to reinstate for scans to be published in future the system of appeals to the Committee on Members' Allowances about redaction.
6. COMMUNICATIONS EXPENDITURE (MEC)
The Committee amended its decision of 23 November. The amended decision is as follows:
- That no claims for expenditure incurred on or after 1 January 2010 will be paid from Communications Expenditure, with the exception of expenditure on advertisements for surgeries, including posters (subject to restrictions set out below), and maintenance of equipment funded from Communications Expenditure where there are contractual commitments.
- That advertisements for surgeries, where the expenditure is incurred on or after 1 January and is funded by Communications Expenditure, must not include party colours or logos and slogans, must not include extraneous material, must be proportionate in nature, and may not include advertisements in national media or leaflets or flyers; references to other elected officials must be approved in advance by the Department of Resources.
- That no materials or resources, other than websites and office equipment, purchased from Communications Expenditure before 1 January 2010 may be used on or after that date unless the Member first returns the full cost of those resources to the House.
- That where Communications Expenditure is used to fund an ongoing cost or item which occurs across both the restricted and unrestricted period, only the relevant fraction of the costs can be paid for out of Communications Expenditure, unless the item concerned is (i) one of the items excepted in the first point above or (ii) the Member entered into an unconditional obligation to pay for the item using Communications Expenditure on or before 23 November 2009 and the item is not used on or after 1 January.
7. ANY OTHER BUSINESS (MEC)
The Committee referred a letter from a Member to the Committee on Members' Allowances.
The Committee agreed to examine problems relating to the Capital Gains Tax declaration at its next meeting.
8. NEXT MEETING
The next meeting of the Commission/MEC will take place at 4.30 pm on Monday 18 January 2010 in Speaker's House.