IPSA launches consultation on MPs’ expenses

07 January 2010

The consultation on a new scheme of MPs’ expenses was launched by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) on Thursday, 7 January.

IPSA is required by law to consult with MPs, parliamentary committees and other interested parties. The Authority's consultation paper seeks their views and, crucially, the views of the public on the content and administration of a new MPs' expenses scheme.

Five weeks consultation process

The consultation process will last for five weeks, during which IPSA will host a series of meetings and events. The public and other interested parties will also have the opportunity to respond to the consultation through a dedicated website. There will also be telephone polling.

The Chairman of IPSA, Sir Ian Kennedy, discussed the context of the consultation paper in a speech delivered to the Hansard Society. He said:

"The new expenses scheme must meet the needs of a public now deeply distrustful of parliamentarians. It is crucial that we get it right.

"The views of those whom we consult and engage with will be crucial in forming a scheme which has legitimacy and commands the public’s confidence.

"At the heart of our approach is the principle that MPs themselves must take responsibility for their actions.

"We believe as a matter of principle that it is preferable that MPs should receive expenses for costs actually and reasonably incurred rather than flat rate allowances.

"For the first time, decisions relating to the setting and payment of MPs’ expenses will no longer be taken by the MPs themselves but by an external and independent body."

Categories of support

IPSA has identified five categories of support:

  • travel and subsistence
  • overnight accommodation
  • staff
  • rental of constituency offices or premises for surgeries
  • general running costs

IPSA aims to have the new expenses scheme up and running in time for the next Parliament.

Image: iStockphoto

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