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Speaker’s Travel Expenses and Receipts (2015)

One of the Speaker’s duties is to represent Parliament at home and abroad. The Speaker attends funerals and memorials for former Parliamentarians as both a mark of respect and as a representative of his Parliamentary colleagues. Additionally, the Speaker is committed to encouraging public engagement with Parliament and regularly visits universities, charities and other organisations around the UK to explain the work of the House of Commons.

The Speaker is always mindful of costs, and travels Standard class in the UK and when away from home, stays in hotels that offer value for money. In some instances a car service is required to facilitate timing requirements. In line with the Speaker’s commitment to greater transparency details of these costs have been published on a quarterly basis since 2013. 

Request

Please could I be supplied with copies of the receipts filed as evidence in support of the Speaker's official travel and subsistence costs over the past three years.

Response

Please find the information held by the House of Commons attached. Some information has been redacted under the following sections of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA):

Section 40

Some personal information, such as names, addresses and mobile phone numbers, have been redacted from these receipts. This information is exempt by virtue of section 40 (2) of the FOIA (the exemption for personal information), as disclosure of this information to the public generally, in the House’s view, would not be consistent with the data protection principles in the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). This is an absolute exemption and the public interest test does not apply.

Section 31

Some reference numbers, such as account numbers and payment card information, have also been redacted. This has been withheld in accordance with section 31 (1) (a) of the FOIA, as to disclose this information would be likely to prejudice the prevention and detection of crime. This is not an absolute exemption and requires a public test to be performed.

We have considered our obligation to assist the public in understanding how we conduct our business and the legitimate interest in the use of resources funded by the taxpayer. However, the disclosure of the House’s business account numbers with outside organisations may assist people of malicious or criminal intent to use those accounts illegally. Disclosure of such information would fail in our duty to assist those services providing us with law enforcement services as it would hinder their work in preventing and detecting crime and apprehending offenders.