The Conduct of Baroness Uddin - Privileges and Conduct Committee Contents


DOCUMENTS RELATING TO THE MEMBERS' REIMBURSEMENT SCHEME

House of Lords Journal 17 May 1961
Peers'
Travelling
Expenses:
Resolution
respg.
  It was moved by the Lord Glassary (Earl of Dundee) to resolve, "That this House "approves the proposals contained in the "answer made on behalf of Her Majesty's "Government yesterday for enabling mem- "bers of the House to recover the cost of "travel by rail, sea and air in attending "the House for the purposes of their par- "liamentary duties and allowances in "respect of the cost of travel by road for "that purpose."
The same was agreed to.


House of Lords Journals 25 July 1991

  18.  Lords Expenses—It was moved by the Lord Privy Seal (Lord Waddington) that as from 1st August 1991:

            (1)  Members of this House, except any Lord who receives a salary under the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975 and the Chairman and Principal Deputy Chairman of Committees, shall be entitled to recover (in addition to the costs of travel for which other provision is made) expenses certified by them as—

                (a)  expenses incurred (otherwise than as mentioned in sub-paragraph (b) below) for the purpose of attendance at sittings of this House or of Committees of this House, or

                (b)  expenses incurred in staying overnight away from their only or main residence where it is necessary to do so for that purpose.

            (2)  The amount which a Lord may recover under paragraph (1)(a) of this Resolution shall not exceed the maximum daily amount for each day of attendance at a sitting of this House or of a Committee of this House.

            (3)  In paragraph (2) of this Resolution and this paragraph "the maximum daily amount" means—

                (a)  for a day in the year beginning with 1st August 1991, £29, and

                (b)  for a day in any subsequent year, the amount obtained by increasing what was the maximum daily amount for a day in July of the immediately preceding year by the percentage (if any) by which the rate of day subsistence allowance payable for an absence of more than ten hours in the case of a member of the Home Civil Service of the highest subsistence classification was increased as from the end of that July.

            (4)  The amount which a Lord may recover under paragraph (1)(b) of this Resolution shall not exceed the maximum daily amount for—

                (a)  each day of attendance at a sitting of this House or of a Committee of this House, and

                (b)  each other day which falls immediately before a day of attendance at a sitting of a Committee of this House if the Lord incurs expenses in staying overnight away from his only or main residence before the sitting and it is necessary for him to do so for the purpose of attendance at the sitting.

            (5)  In paragraph (4) of this Resolution and this paragraph "the maximum daily amount" means—

                (a)  for a day in the year beginning with 1st August 1991, £68, and

                (b)  for a day in any subsequent year, the amount obtained by increasing what was the maximum daily amount for a day in July of the immediately preceding year by the percentage (if any) by which the highest Inner London rate of night subsistence allowance payable to a member of the Home Civil Service was increased as from the end of that July.

            (6)  For the purposes of this Resolution—

                (a)  any fraction of a pound in an amount obtained under paragraph (3)(B) or (5)(b) shall be treated as a whole pound if it is not less than fifty pence, but shall otherwise be disregarded.

                (b)  references to a sitting of this House or of a Committee of this House do not include references to a judicial sitting, and

                (c)  "year" means a year beginning with 1st August;

   after debate, the motion was agreed to.

House of Lords Journals 10 November 2004

  15.  Car, bicycle and motorcycle mileage expenses—It was moved by the Lord President (Baroness Amos) to resolve that this House approves the following proposals with respect to payments of car, bicycle and motorcycle allowances to Lords for journeys which they have commenced on or after 10th November 2004—

(1)The maximum allowance payable in respect of a journey by car, motorcycle or bicycle should be payable at the rate which is applicable to that kind of vehicle under subsection (2) of section 230 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003, as amended from time to time.

(2)For the purposes of paragraph (1), the reference in that subsection to "the first 10,000 miles" is to the total number of miles of travel by car by the Lord claiming the allowance, which is either—

(a)undertaken for the purpose of attending this House for the purposes of his parliamentary duties, or

(b)undertaken while on parliamentary duties within the United Kingdom;

        the motion was agreed to.

Members' Reimbursement Allowance Scheme General Guide

Fifth Edition October 2005

Contents
1.INTRODUCTION
1.1Summary Table
1.2Background
1.3Taxable status
2.HOW TO CLAIM
2.1The Finance Department
3.GENERAL CONDITIONS RELATING TO CLAIMS AND ALLOWANCES
3.1Eligibility to claim expenses
3.2Time limit
3.3Publication of information relating to Members' claims for expenses
4ATTENDANCE AT SITTINGS AT WESTMINSTER
4.1General—Expenses Related to Attendance
4.2Travelling Expenses
4.3Spouses'and Children's Travel
4.4Night Subsistence
4.5Day Subsistence
4.6Office Costs
4.7Other Expenses
5.TRAVEL ON UK PARLIAMENTARY BUSINESS
5.1Definition
5.2Industry and Parliament Trust and Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme
6TRAVEL TO EU INSTITUTIONS
6.1Definition
6.2Advance Notice
6.3Travelling expenses
6.4Subsistence expenses
7SELECT COMMITTEE VISITS
7.1.Travel
7.2Day Subsistence
7.3Office Costs
7.4Accommodation Maintenance Allowance for Second Home
7.5Night Subsistence
7.6Insurance Costs
8PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATIONS
8.1Travel and Subsistence
8.2Office Costs
8.3Accommodation Maintenance Allowance for Second Home
8.4Night Subsistence
8.5Expenses of a Rapporteur
8.6Insurance Costs
9BRITISH-IRISH INTER-PARLIAMENTARY BODY(BIIPB)
9.1Travel and Subsistence
9.2Office Costs
9.3Accommodation Maintenance Allowance for Second Home
10TRAVEL AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HOUSE
10.1Travel and Subsistence
10.2Accommodation Maintenance Allowance for Second Home
10.3Insurance Costs
11LAW LORDS
11.1Travelling Expenses
12MINISTERS AND PAID OFFICE HOLDERS
12.1Secretarial Expenses
12.2Spouses' and Children's Travelling
13TRAVELLING EXPENSES FOR BODIES NOT SUPPORTED
13.1Specific Bodies
14MEMBERS' PERSONAL ACCIDENT INSURANCE
14.1Summary
14.2Cover on the Parliamentary Estate or travelling between home and Westminster
14.3Cover whilst Travelling
14.4Exemptions
15FREE POSTAGE
15.1Envelopes and Postcards
16BROADBAND COSTS
17FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO OPPOSITION PARTIES IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS "CRANBORNE MONEY"

1.  INTRODUCTION

1.1  Summary Table



Member category


Types of claim


Overnight
Subsistence


Day
Subsistence


Office/Secretarial
Costs

Spouse and
Childrens'
Travel
Accommodation
Maintenance
Allowance for a
Second Home


Travel

Insurance
cover
provided
Sittings of the House max £154.50 per nightmax £77 per day max £67 per day6 journeys each per year NoYesYes
Select Committee meetings at Westminster max £154.50 per nightmax £77 per day max £67 per dayNo NoYesYes
Select Committee Visits met directlymet directlymax £67 per day Nomax £103Yes Yes
Members of parliamentary delegations Foreign & Commonwealth Office rates Foreign & Commonwealth Office ratesmax £67 per day Nomax £103Yes Yes
Additional Office Costs N/AN/Amax 40 days @ £67 per day N/AN/AN/A N/A
Backbench MembersUK travel on parliamentary business NoNoNo NoNoYes Yes
Travel to EU Institutions Foreign & Commonwealth Office ratesForeign & Commonwealth Office rates NoNoNo YesYes
British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body from House of Commonsfrom House of Commons max £67 per dayNo max £103NoYes
Travel as a Representative of the House met directlymet directly max £67 per dayNomax £103 YesYes

Salaried Members +
Law Lord NoNoNo NoNoYes Yes
MinisterNo Nomax £5,025.50 pa 15 journeys each per yearNo NoYes
Office HolderNo Nomax £5,025.50 pa 15 journeys each per yearNo YesYes

1.2  Background

  1.2.1  Members of the House of Lords do not, in general, receive a salary in respect of their parliamentary duties. However, Members may be reimbursed actual expenses arising out of these duties, in accordance with the rules of the Members' Reimbursement Allowance Scheme. The Members' Reimbursement Allowance Scheme is governed by Resolutions of the House. Rules for the recovery of Members' expenses are administered by the Clerk of the Parliaments who also has limited discretion to deal with matters that arise on claims. Points of particular difficulty or doubt may be referred to the House Committee, which supervises the arrangements for the reimbursement of expenses. The Senior Salaries Review Body carries out regular reviews of parliamentary allowances. Its most recent report on the House of Lords was issued in October 2004 (Cm 6354). Subsistence allowances are updated on 1 August each year in line with the Retails Price Index.

  1.2.2  Members not in receipt of a parliamentary salary are able to recover expenses for:

    — daily and overnight subsistence expenses, office costs and travel expenses incurred in attending a sitting of the House or a Committee meeting at Westminster—see section 4;

    — travel in the UK on Parliamentary Business—see section 5;

    — travel to EU Institutions—see section 6;

    — participation in select committee visits—see section 7;

    — participation in official Parliamentary delegations—see section 8;

    — certain limited expenses for participation in the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body visits—see section 9;

    — travel as a representative of the House—see section 10.

  1.2.3  Sections 11 and 12 provide information on the reimbursement allowances available to salaried Members of the House, ie the Law Lords, Ministers and paid Office Holders.

1.3  Taxable status

  1.3.1  All amounts paid in settlement of claims as detailed in thisguide represent reimbursement of actual expenses arising out ofunpaid parliamentary duty, rather than income from employment. Consequently, they are not subject to income tax, and need not be included on a tax return.

2.  HOW TO CLAIM

2.1  The Finance Department

  2.1.1  The reimbursement scheme is administered by the Members' Expenses Section in the Finance Department, House of Lords which also has access to a full record of Members' attendances at the House.

  2.1.2  The Members' Expenses Section is housed in Room 645 on the sixth floor of Millbank House. The postal address is:

    Finance Department House of Lords London SW1A 0PW

  A dedicated telephone number for Members to contact the office is 020 7219 6096.

  The FAX number is 020 7219 2369 and the Finance Department's generic email address is findept@parliament.uk.

  2.1.3  All forms are available from the Members' Expenses Section (unless otherwise stated) and from the Finance Department's Intranet page.

  2.1.4  It would not be possible to incorporate in this guide every circumstance under which Members may be able to reclaim expenses. Members are therefore encouraged to contact the Members' Expenses Section, on the above telephone number, for general assistance or to discuss any particular points that arise from their claims.

3.  GENERAL CONDITIONS RELATING TO CLAIMS AND ALLOWANCES

3.1  Eligibility to claim expenses

  3.1.1  No Member may claim expenses unless they have taken the oath of allegiance or affirmed. Members on leave of absence are also ineligible to claim.

3.2  Time limit

  3.2.1  Expenses claims should be submitted within three months of the expense arising.

3.3  Publication of information relating to Members' claims for expenses

  3.3.1  Information on the expenses claimed by each Member is published annually on the Parliamentary website.

4  ATTENDANCE AT SITTINGS AT WESTMINSTER

4.1  General—Expenses Related to Attendance

  4.1.1  The basic principle underlying the scheme is that the entitlement to recover expenses arises only in respect of attendance at sittings of the House or its committees at Westminster. These are defined as:

    — sittings of the House (excluding attendance at the State Opening of Parliament and sittings for judicial business)

    — meetings of committees and sub-committees of the House (except judicial business)

    — meetings as a member of the Board of the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST)

    — meetings as a member of the Parliamentary Broadcasting Unit Limited (PARBUL).

  4.1.2  Members travelling on parliamentary business away from Westminster may only be reimbursed their expenses under the specific arrangements set out in sections 5 to 10. Costs incurred in respect of an attendance at any other meeting, whether held at Westminster or not, cannot be recovered unless the Member attends a meeting falling within paragraph 4.1.1 on the same day.

  4.1.3  Members who wish to claim attendance expenses must complete and sign the attendance expenses claim form and forward it as soon as convenient after the end of each month, or period of claim, to the Members' Expenses Section. A Member's signature effectively certifies that the amount claimed has been spent for the purposes of parliamentary duties as set out above. Receipts are not required.

  4.1.4  Claims for subsistence (4.4 and 4.5) and office costs (4.6) must not exceed the daily maxima for that category of expenses aggregated over the period of the claim. For example, if a Member claims for 10 days' office costs it is possible to claim more than the normal maximum of £67 for any specific day(s) providing that the overall maximum of £670 (10 x £67) is not exceeded.

  4.1.5  The latest version of the attendance expenses claim form is always available from the Printed Paper Office and the Members' Expenses Section. The form can also be found on House of Lords Intranet under Offices & Administration, Finance Department, Members' Services.

  4.1.6  The reverse of the attendance expenses claim form contains a "quick guide". This includes the current maxima of the allowances and the names of the staff to contact in the Members' Expenses Section. The "quick guide" is updated regularly and whenever the maxima of the allowances are increased, currently in August of each year.

4.2  Travelling Expenses

General

  4.2.1  Claims may be made only for journeys over five miles between a Member's main place of residence in the United Kingdom and Westminster. Claims for incidental travel costs (eg those arising from short distance journeys within a five mile radius of Westminster, tolls and car parking charges) are covered by the day subsistence allowance (4.5).

  4.2.2  Members seeking to receive travel costs must register their main place of residence with the Members' Expenses Section. Members with more than one main place of residence may register an alternative main residence with the Members' Expenses Section for the purpose of claiming travelling expenses. Registration is subject to the approval of the Clerk of the Parliaments.

  4.2.3  If a Member's main place of residence is outside the UK, travel costs may be reimbursed from the point of entry into the UK in accordance with 4.2.4 to 4.2.14.

  4.2.4  Members may recover the cost of fares incurred by them for travel by any public railway, sea, and air or bus service, or the costs of journey made by private car.

Rail and Air

  4.2.5  Members are entitled to claim the cost of first class tickets when travelling by rail and business class tickets when travelling by air. However, Members are expected to take advantage of any available cheap ticket facilities. The cost of "rail cards", for example a senior citizen rail card, can be reimbursed. The Travel Office (020 7219 4232) is available as a service for members of both Houses to book tickets, and significant discounts are available on many routes.

  4.2.6  Claims for rail travel may include the cost of sleeping berths and seat reservations. Costs of meals and refreshments are redeemable as day subsistence.

  4.2.7  Claims for air travel may include fares for travel by coach between the airport and air terminal.

Road

  4.2.8  Claims in respect of journeys by private car are payable at:

    — 40p per mile up to 10,000 miles in the year ending 31 March; and

    — 25p per mile for mileage in excess of 10,000 miles in the same year.

  No other claims in respect of motoring expenses are reimbursable under the travelling expenses heading. Incidental travel costs such as tolls, congestion charges and car-parking charges can be claimed against the daily limit of the day subsistence allowance (4.5).

  4.2.9  In certain circumstances claims for double journeys will be admitted, eg when a Member's car takes him or her to, or fetches him or her from, a railway station or airport and is thereby necessarily involved in a double journey.

  4.2.10  Claims in respect of hired cars/taxis may only be made on the same basis as for a privately owned car, ie Members can be reimbursed the normal mileage allowance for the miles actually travelled in the hired car/taxi.

  4.2.11  Travel by private car is considerably more expensive than by public transport and Members should therefore use public transport wherever practicable.

  4.2.12  Claims in respect of journeys undertaken by motorcycle are paid at the rate of 24p per mile.

  4.2.13 Claims in respect of journeys undertaken by bicycle are paid at the rate of 20p per mile.

Recall of the House

  4.2.14  Should the House be recalled during a Parliamentary recess, Members who are away from their main place of residence may recover the costs necessarily incurred in attending a sitting of the House, including the cost of travel from overseas. A separate claim form is available from the Members' Expenses Section to recover travel costs in those circumstances.

4.3  Spouses' and Children's Travel

  4.3.1  A Member may recover the costs incurred by a wife or husband for up to six return journeys per calendar year between home and Westminster to attend Parliamentary occasions. A Member may also recover the costs incurred by each of their children, up to the age of 18, on the same basis. Such costs are reimbursed on the same basis as those for Members travel (4.2).

  4.3.2  Claims under this heading should be included on the Members' claim form. The form should clearly indicate whether the claim relates to the spouse or a named child.

4.4  Night Subsistence

  4.4.1  Members whose main residence is outside Greater London may claim for expenses of overnight accommodation in London while away from their only or main residence. The maximum daily limit is £154.50.

  4.4.2  A Member whose main residence is outside Greater London and who maintains a residence in London for the purpose of attending sittings of the House may claim this allowance towards the cost of maintaining such a residence.

  4.4.3  Claims for night subsistence are only permissible in respect of nights actually spent in London either immediately preceding or following attendance at a sitting or meeting described in paragraph 4.1.1 above. For example, a Member who necessarily travels to London on a Sunday and attends sittings of the House on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and then returns home on Friday or later may claim night subsistence for a maximum of 5 nights at up to a maximum of £154.50 per night (ie a maximum of £772.50 for the week). However, if the Member returned home on the Thursday evening, the maximum claim for night subsistence would be 4 nights at up to a maximum of £154.50 per night (ie a maximum of £618 for the week).

  4.4.4  Members who choose to travel home each night or whose main residence is within Greater London cannot claim the night subsistence allowance.

4.5  Day Subsistence

  4.5.1  Members may claim day subsistence costs within a daily limit of £77.00 for each day of attendance.

  4.5.2  This allowance is intended to cover such items as the cost of meals and incidental travel costs not separately recoverable (eg short distance journeys within a five mile radius of Westminster, taxi fares, tolls and car parking charges). It also includes an element to cover the costs of providing refreshments for a Member's visitors to the House on official business.

4.6  Office Costs

  4.6.1  Members may claim office costs within a daily limit of £67.00 for each day of attendance.

  4.6.2  Such claims may include the cost of secretarial help, research assistance, and additional expenses (eg domestic costs, purchase of books and periodicals and professional subscription charges that arise out of parliamentary duties).

  4.6.3  Office costs may also be recovered in respect of a maximum of 40 days per year when the House is not sitting, or the House is sitting but a Member does not attend.

4.7  Other Expenses

Disablement

  4.7.1  Members who are disabled may recover the additional expenses of attending the House incurred by them because of their disablement and not recoverable within the normal daily limits. This may include the additional cost of travel, specialist assistance or equipment etc. Each case is considered on its merits. Applications should be submitted to the Members' Expenses Section, and are subject to the approval of the Clerk of the Parliaments.

5.  TRAVEL ON UK PARLIAMENTARY BUSINESS

5.1  Definition

  5.1.1  In addition to the normal travel arrangements, the cost of journeys made on parliamentary business elsewhere within the United Kingdom may also be recovered. Claims for such travel are subject to the prior approval of the Clerk of the Parliaments and to the following conditions:

    — the purpose of the visit is clearly related to the work of Parliament and does not include party political, personal or private business;

    — claims are subject to the limitations outlined in paragraphs 4.2.4-4.2.13;

    — the expenses are not recoverable from any other source;

    — application for reimbursement must be submitted to the Members' Expenses Section at least one week before the date of the proposed journey;

    — Members must confirm the actual travelling expenses incurred after the journey has been undertaken.

5.2  Industry and Parliament Trust and Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme

  5.2.1  The costs of journeys on business connected with the Industry and Parliament Trust (IPT) or Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme (AFPS) may be claimed, so long as they meet the terms scheme set out above. All other claims should be addressed to the IPT or AFPS.

6  TRAVEL TO EU INSTITUTIONS

6.1  Definition

  6.1.1  Members are able to recover the costs of travelling on parliamentary duties between the United Kingdom and any European Union institution in Brussels, Luxembourg or Strasbourg or the national parliament of a European Union state or a candidate country. This is subject to a limit of two return journeys in any year from 1 April to 31 March.

6.2  Advance Notice

  6.2.1  Members seeking reimbursement must obtain advance approval for the visit from the Clerk of the Parliaments. Applications should be submitted at least one week in advance of the visit, giving details of:

    (i) the visit's purpose;

    (ii) its destination(s);

    (iii) its duration; and

    (iv) the persons or organisations to be met.

  Application forms are available from the Members' Expenses Section or the Clerk of the Parliaments' Office.

  6.2.2  The Members' Expenses Section will advise the Member whether or not the visit has been approved by the Clerk of the Parliaments, enclosing a claim form to be submitted after the visit. Claim forms should be completed and returned to the Members' Expenses Section together with bills and receipts for any travel expenses incurred.

6.3  Travelling expenses

  6.3.1  The amount payable in respect of travel, by any means, out of and into the United Kingdom is restricted to a maximum of the business class return fare between a station or airport serving London or the area of the Member's main residence and a station or airport serving the city visited. Travel costs to and from the point of exit from and entry to the UK can be claimed on the same terms as for expenses in attending sittings of the House.

6.4  Subsistence expenses

  6.4.1  Members are entitled to a subsistence allowance limited to two nights (48 hours) calculated at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Class A standard subsistence rate current at the time of the visit. The standard subsistence rate is deemed to cover all costs for accommodation, taxis, meals and refreshments. Information on these rates is held by the Members' Expenses Section.

  6.4.2.  Subsistence is calculated from the time that a Member leaves Westminster or their main residence until their return. Subsistence rates are set in the local currency of the country being visited, but reimbursement will be paid in sterling.

7  SELECT COMMITTEE VISITS

7.1.  Travel

  7.1.1  Travel arrangements for select committee meetings held away from Westminster, in the UK or overseas, are made by the Committee Office, which meets the costs directly. Costs of travel from home to the starting point for a visit (see 4.2 above), and of any necessary overnight stay at the start or end of the visit (see 7.5.1 below), should be reclaimed through the committee clerk. Travel and subsistence claim forms are available from the Committee Office.

Day Subsistence

  7.2.1  Day subsistence costs for select committee meetings held away from Westminster are met directly by the Committee Office or paid at standard Government subsistence rates appropriate to the location. Members are not entitled to claim their subsistence costs under the arrangements in place for attendance at Westminster.

7.3  Office Costs

  7.3.1  Office costs are recoverable on the same basis as for attendance at the House (4.6).

7.4  Accommodation Maintenance Allowance for Second Home

  7.4.1  Members who maintain a second residence in London for the purpose of attending sittings of the House may claim an allowance of up to £103 per night whilst on a committee visit away from Westminster for continuing accommodation costs incurred, on the same basis as the Night Subsistence Allowance (4.4.2).

7.5  Night Subsistence

  7.5.1  If a Member needs to spend a night in London immediately before or after a committee visit and is not able to attend the House on that day a claim for night subsistence in the terms set out in Section 4.4 may be made. Such claims are subject to the prior approval of the clerk of the committee. Claims for reimbursement should be made on Travel and Subsistence forms available from the Committee Office.

7.6  Insurance Costs

  7.6.1  Details of the group personal accident insurance covering Members are given in section 14. As this cover is limited Members are advised to also make their own private insurance arrangements for losses not provided by the group policy. Any relevant insurance cost incurred for a specific visit may be reimbursed to the Member who should submit the claim to the clerk of the committee for approval. Claims for reimbursement should be made on Travel and Subsistence forms which are available from Committee Office.

8  PARLIAMENTARY DELEGATIONS

8.1  Travel and Subsistence

  8.1.1  The payment of travel and subsistence costs incurred in the United Kingdom or overseas by members of the official parliamentary delegations to the parliamentary assemblies of the Council of Europe, the Western European Union, NATO and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, is administered by the House of Commons Overseas Office in accordance with the rules agreed by both Houses. Full details of these arrangements are set out in the Administrative Guide for Members of the United Kingdom Delegations, a copy of which is provided, on the appointment of a delegate, by the Overseas Office in the House of Commons. Parliamentary Delegation claim forms are available from the House of Commons.

  8.1.2  Whilst travelling on or participating as a member of a parliamentary delegation, Members are not entitled to claim their subsistence costs under the arrangements in place for attendance at Westminster.

  8.1.3  For meetings held away from Westminster, in the UK or overseas, travel is arranged by the Delegation Secretary. Costs are normally met directly by the House of Commons Overseas Office. Costs of travel from home to the starting point for a visit may be claimed as detailed in 4.2 above. Claims for reimbursement should be made on Parliamentary Delegation claim forms which are available from the House of Commons Overseas Office.

8.2  Office Costs

  8.2.1  Office costs are recoverable from the House of Lords on the same basis as for attendance at the House (4.6).

8.3  Accommodation Maintenance Allowance for Second Home

  8.3.1  Members who maintain a second residence in London for the purpose of attending sittings of the House may claim an allowance of £103 per night whilst on a Parliamentary Delegation away from Westminster for continuing accommodation costs incurred, on the same basis as the Night Subsistence Allowance (4.4.2).

8.4  Night Subsistence

  8.4.1  If a Member needs to spend a night in London immediately before or after a delegation visit and is not able to attend the House on that day a claim for night subsistence in the terms set out in Section 4.4 may be made. Such claims are subject to the prior approval of the Clerk of the Overseas Office. Claims for reimbursement should be made on Travel and Subsistence forms available from the House of Commons Overseas Office.

8.5  Expenses of a Rapporteur

  8.5.1  If a member attends a delegation in the capacity of Rapporteur then only office costs and the accommodation maintenance allowance for a second home may be claimed (8.2 to 8.3) above. Other expenses are met by the organisation which appointed the Rapporteur.

8.6  Insurance Costs

  8.6.1  Details of the group personal accident insurance covering Members are given in section 14. As this cover is limited Members are advised to also make their own private insurance arrangements for losses not provided by the group policy. Any relevant insurance cost incurred for a specific visit may be reimbursed to the Member who should submit the claim to the Clerk of the Overseas Office (020 7219 3130) for approval prior to the visit. Claims for reimbursement should be made on Travel and Subsistence forms which are available from the House of Commons Overseas Office.

9  BRITISH-IRISH INTER-PARLIAMENTARY BODY (BIIPB)

9.1  Travel and Subsistence

  9.1.1  The House of Lords has no responsibility for meetings and visits organised by the BIIPB and claims for travel and subsistence expenses are dealt with by the House of Commons. Contact details are available via the Parliamentary Intranet Index page.

9.2  Office Costs

  9.2.1  Office costs are recoverable on the same basis as for attendance at the House (4.6).

9.3  Accommodation Maintenance Allowance for Second Home

  9.3.1  Members who maintain a second residence in London for the purpose of attending sittings of the House may claim an allowance of £103 per night whilst attending meetings of the BIIPB away from Westminster for continuing accommodation costs incurred, on the same basis as the Night Subsistence Allowance (4.4.2).

10  TRAVEL AS A REPRESENTATIVE OF THE HOUSE

10.1  Travel and Subsistence

  10.1.1  All expenses are met by the Overseas Office which has responsibility for travel by Members overseas as representatives of the House. Details may be obtained from the Clerk of the Overseas Office (020 7219 3130).

10.2  Accommodation Maintenance Allowance for Second Home

  10.2.  Members who maintain a second residence in London for the purpose of attending sittings of the House may claim an allowance of £103 per night whilst travelling as a representative of the House away from Westminster for continuing accommodation costs incurred, on the same basis as the Night Subsistence Allowance (4.4.2).

10.3  Insurance Costs

  10.3.1  Details of the group personal accident insurance covering Members are given in section 14. As this cover is limited Members are advised to also make their own private insurance arrangements for losses not provided by the group policy. Any relevant insurance cost incurred for a specific visit may be reimbursed to the Member who should submit the claim to the Clerk of the overseas Office for approval. Claims for reimbursement should be made on Travel and Subsistence forms which are available from the Overseas Office.

11  LAW LORDS

11.1  Travelling Expenses

  11.1.1  Lords of Appeal in Ordinary (the "Law Lords") are able to claim travel expenses between their main residence and Westminster at any time during the law term.

12  MINISTERS AND PAID OFFICE HOLDERS

12.1  Secretarial Expenses

  12.1.1  Ministers and other paid Office Holders in the House of Lords are able to recover expenses for secretarial assistance certified as incurred by them in the performance of Parliamentary duties. The maximum amount recoverable in the twelve month period commencing 1 August 2005 is £5,025.50.

  12.1.2  A certificate should accompany the evidence of expenditure. Templates of documents required are provided by the Members' Expenses Section.

12.2  Spouses' and Children's Travelling

  12.2.1  A Lords' Minister or paid Office Holder who maintains a permanent home outside Greater London may claim for the cost of journeys undertaken between home and Westminster by his or her spouse and dependant children, up to a limit of 15 return journeys for each spouse or child per calendar year.

13  TRAVELLING EXPENSES FOR BODIES NOT SUPPORTED

13.1  Specific Bodies

  13.1.1  The House of Lords does not have any responsibility for visits organised by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) or Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). Any claims for expenses should be addressed to the appropriate organisation.

14  MEMBERS' PERSONAL ACCIDENT INSURANCE

14.1  Summary

  14.1.1  The House maintains an insurance policy to cover Members for accidents whilst on the Parliamentary Estate, whilst travelling between home and the House and whilst travelling on official parliamentary business. For insurance purposes, official parliamentary business is defined as trips, visits or attendance at events where the House has paid Members' travelling expenses. Currently, this includes:

    — Travel under the UK Parliamentary Business travel scheme (section 5)

    — Travel to EU Instritutions (section 6)

    — Select Committee visits (section 7)

    — Parliamentary Delegations (section 8)

    — BIIPB (section 9)

    — Travel as a representative of the House (section 10).

  A brief overview of cover provided is shown below. Members should consult the full details of the policy to ascertain if this provides sufficient personal cover. The policy can be viewed on the Finance Department's intranet page.

14.2  Cover on the Parliamentary Estate or travelling between home and Westminster

  14.2.1  The following benefits are provided:

  Accidental death (benefit may vary subject to existing medical conditions)—£175,000

  Permanent total disablement and or disabling injuries (up to age 75)—up to a maximum of £175,000

  Temporary total disablement (up to age 75)—£200 per week for up to 104 weeks

  Accident medical expenses—maximum of £10,000 per person

14.3  Cover whilst Travelling

  14.3.1  In addition to the benefits shown above, the following cover is provided for Members whilst travelling within the UK (where the trip involves an overnight stay away from London or includes air travel) or overseas on official parliamentary business:
Medical Expenses£2,500,000
Rescueunlimited
Personal Belongings£2,500 (single article limit £1,500)
Money£5,000 (cash limit £1,000)
Personal Liability£2,000,000
Hijack£15,000
Legal Expenses£25,000
Supplementary Travel Expenses£15,000 (for travel and accommodation expenses of family visiting)


14.4  Exemptions


  14.4.1  The following terms and exemptions apply:

    (a) Cover is not automatic in respect of travel to certain countries. Currently, the Finance Department must give prior notification to the insurer for journeys to Afghanistan, Chechnya, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Territories, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. The list of countries and cover available may vary from time to time: if in doubt please consult the Finance Department.

    (b) Whilst travelling, an aircraft accumulation limit of £2 million applies. Based on the maximum sum insured of £175,000, this will allow a group of 11 Members to travel together.

    (c) For travel in single engine aircraft (and helicopters), the accumulation limit is reduced to £525,000 or full cover for three Members.

    (d) Additional restrictions apply and Members should consult the Finance Department or the policy for full details.

  14.4.2  The Finance Department should be notified of any claims.

15  FREE POSTAGE

15.1  Envelopes and Postcards

  15.1.1  Postage-paid envelopes and postcards are available from the Printed Paper Office (PPO) for Members' correspondence on Parliamentary business. Supplies may be collected by Members in person, or by Members' staff if authorised in advance by the Member concerned. Those collecting envelopes and postcards will be asked to sign for them.

  15.1.2  A maximum of 100 of each type of envelope or postcard may be issued to a Member on any one day. Small quantities (up to 50 in total with a maximum of 10 of each type) may be sent by post to Members' private addresses on receipt by the PPO of a signed order form.

  15.1.3  For further details or forms please contact the PPO (tel: extension 3960 or 3038, or email to quing@parliament.uk).

  15.1.4  Members are reminded that prepaid envelopes and postcards may not be used:

    — For correspondence of a business, commercial or personal nature;

    — For the correspondence of a parliamentary group which includes persons other than parliamentarians;

    — In connection with party political fund raising or campaigning;

    — For issuing circulars of any description (ie an unsolicited letter sent in identical or near identical form to a number of addresses);

    — For internal mail (mail within the Parliamentary estate); or

    — For overseas mail (including Europe and the Republic of Ireland).

  15.1.5  Members are also asked to recognise the need to avoid wastage of prepaid envelopes and postcards, on which the House will have already paid the postal charge. In particular, envelopes and cards should not be used for making notes or for internal mail of any kind; nor should they be left unused and forgotten in an office. Although there is no formal limit on the number of prepaid envelopes available to Members, Members are nevertheless asked to keep their requests to modest numbers.

16  BROADBAND COSTS

  16.1  A Member who has borrowed an official laptop computer is entitled to apply for an ASDL connection for which no charge is made. If this is not technically possible then a Member can be reimbursed the cost of installation and rental of an ISDN line. Further details and forms are available from the Computer Office (020 7219 6061).

17  FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO OPPOSITION PARTIES IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS "CRANBORNE MONEY"

  17.1  A scheme for providing financial assistance to the Official Opposition and the second largest opposition party in the House of Lords to assist them in carrying out their parliamentary business was introduced in October 1996. A similar scheme known as "Short money" has been in operation in the House of Commons since 1975. The scheme was extended in October 1999 to include assistance for the Convenor of the Cross-Bench Peers.

  17.2  The amounts payable are uprated annually in April in line with the retail prices index. The sums paid to the parties and the Convenor are subject to independent audit.

  17.3  Each party is responsible for the allocation of its individual entitlement and any matters concerning financial assistance should be referred to the Leader of the Party concerned or to the Convenor.

Members' Reimbursement Allowance Scheme Quick Guide, September 2005

[This guide is printed on the reverse of the claim form. The front of the claim form is printed at p30.]

  This "quick guide" provides brief details of the reimbursement allowances available to Members of the House of Lords. It includes the current maxima of the allowances and the staff to contact in the Finance Department. The "quick guide" will be updated regularly and whenever the maxima of the allowances are increased. Full details of the scheme are set out in the "General Guide", which is available in the Printed Paper Office and which can also be found on the House of Lords Intranet under Offices & Administration, Finance Department, Members' Services.


  Members of the House of Lords, who are not in receipt of a salary as a Minister, Office Holder or Lord of Appeal in Ordinary are entitled to recover the costs of travel, subsistence and secretarial assistance incurred in connection with their parliamentary duties, as set out below.

    (i) Night Subsistence—Members whose main residence is outside Greater London may claim expenses, within a daily limit of £154.50 (from 1 August 2005 to 31 July 2006), for nights spent away from their only or main residence for the purpose of attending sittings of the House a) where they have incurred expenses of overnight accommodation in London or; b) as a contribution towards the costs of maintaining a London residence in connection with their parliamentary duties. Claims can only be made in respect of days of attendance.

    (ii) Day Subsistence and Incidental travel—Only claimable on days of attendance. This allowance is intended to cover such items as the cost of meals and incidental travel costs (e.g. short distance journeys within a five mile radius of Westminster, taxi fares, tolls and car parking charges) not separately recoverable. Daily limit £77.00 (from 1 August 2005 to 31 July 2006). Claims can only be made in respect of days of attendance.

    (iii) Office Costs—Claims may include the cost of secretarial help, research assistance and where appropriate, the cost of providing and maintaining necessary equipment together with the cost of certain additional expenses, including telephone, internet, computer and IT costs (e.g. domestic costs, purchase of books and periodicals and professional subscription charges that arise out of parliamentary duties) within a limit of £67.00 (from 1 August 2005 to 31 July 2006), for each day of attendance at the House, plus an additional 40 days for which a separate claim form is available.

    (iv) Claims for subsistence ((i) and (ii)) and office costs (iii) must not exceed the daily maxima for that category of expenses aggregated over the period of the claim. For example, if a Member claims for 10 days' office costs it is possible to claim more that the normal maximum of £67 for any specific day(s) providing that the overall maximum of £670 (10 x £67) is not exceeded.

    (v) Travelling Expenses—These may be claimed for journeys between main place of residence in the United Kingdom and London by any public railway, sea, air or bus service. Claims in respect of journeys by private car are restricted to an allowance of 40p per mile up to 10,000 miles then 25p thereafter. Claims in respect of journeys undertaken by motorcycle are paid at the rate of 24p per mile and by bicycle at the rate of 20p per mile.

  Members who wish to claim any of the expenses detailed above should complete and sign the claim form and forward it as soon as convenient after the end of each month, or period of claim, to the Accountant, House of Lords. Claims are not admissible retrospectively for more than three months prior to the month in which the claim is made.

  Other Expenses—Members may also claim reimbursement for expenses incurred in respect of: Spouse and Children's Travel, Travel on UK Parliamentary Business, Travel to EU Institutions, Select Committee Visits, Travel as Representative of the House and Parliamentary Delegations. Details of these schemes can be found in the `General Guide' (see above). If in doubt please contact the Finance Department.


  The scheme is administered by the Finance Department, House of Lords which also has access to the full record of Lords' attendances. Members are encouraged to contact the Finance Department, House of Lords for general assistance, or to discuss any particular points that arise from their claims. The Finance Department is based on the sixth floor of Millbank House. Members' Reimbursement Allowances are dealt with in Room 645.

  The postal address is "The Finance Department, House of Lords, London, SW1A 0PW". A dedicated telephone number for Peers to contact the office is 0207 219 6096. The members expenses supervisor is Maureen Buck.
In the autumn of each year, the House publishes information relating to the expenses claimed by each Member for the preceding financial year.



The Clerk of the Parliaments' Guidance on the Investigation of Complaints Relating to Members' Expenses Published 20 October 2009

Guidance on complaints relating to Members' expenses

  The Clerk of the Parliaments is the Accounting Officer for the House of Lords and is responsible for ensuring that public money is used properly. In that capacity he will take steps to investigate Members' expenses claims if he is concerned that there may have been a breach of the rules.

Any complaints relating to expenses claims by Members of the House of Lords should be addressed to the Clerk of the Parliaments. All complaints made will be considered by the Clerk of the Parliaments in the first instance.

  In June 2009, the House of Lords House Committee endorsed the following procedures for the Clerk of the Parliaments in dealing with complaints relating to Members' expenses:

    a) The Clerk of the Parliaments will give consideration to all complaints he receives. He is able to dismiss a complaint after initial consideration if he deems it to be vexatious, frivolous or outside his remit.

    b) If he decides to proceed with an investigation, the Clerk of the Parliaments will put the substance of any allegations to the Member concerned, and ask that Member for a written response. The investigation process would normally include examination of the claim forms in question and an interview with the Member concerned. The Clerk of the Parliaments is able to call on the advice of a small sub-group of members of the House Committee to consider the preliminary findings of his investigations on individual complaints. As recommended by the Committee for Privileges in November 2008, the Clerk of the Parliaments is also able to call upon the assistance of the Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests in complex cases.

    c) If, following his investigation, the Clerk of the Parliaments decides not to uphold a complaint, he informs the complainant at this point. The results of his investigation are published on the parliamentary website. Normally the Clerk of the Parliaments seeks to respond to complaints within a period of three months.

    d) In any instances where it is not possible for the Clerk of the Parliaments to come to any clear conclusion on a complaint; or where he considers that a Member has been found in breach of the rules, he would make a report to the House Committee, which is responsible for the supervision of the Members' Expenses Scheme. If, in a particular instance, the House Committee considers that a sanction against a Member may be appropriate, it would refer the matter to the Committee for Privileges.

    e) If, at any point in his investigation of a complaint, the Clerk of the Parliaments considers that there are sufficient prima facie grounds to justify reporting a matter to the Police for them to consider a possible criminal investigation, he will proceed accordingly and suspend his own investigation of a complaint until the question of possible criminal proceedings has been resolved.

Published Extract from the Minute of the House Committee Meeting of 26 January 2010

Members' expenses: investigation of complaints

  The Clerk of the Parliaments spoke to his memorandum (H/09-10/8) [RESERVED].

As detailed in the paper, he reported that he had already come to decisions on a number of complaints. He emphasised that he was operating under the current scheme, one of the weaknesses of which was that there was no clear definition of a main residence. He had however taken the view, within the context of the individual assessment of each case, that there needed to be a minimum threshold beyond which it would be inappropriate for a Member to designate a property as a main or only residence, and consequently claim overnight subsistence when staying in London.

  He sought the endorsement of the Committee of the criteria which he was incorporating into his assessment of cases where frequency of visits was an issue: ie that the main residence had to be visited for a minimum of one weekend per month over the year when the House was sitting and for periods during recesses. These factors would be taken into account, along with other evidence, when assessing the validity of the designation of a main residence. He drew the attention of the Committee to the fact that it was probable that more stringent requirements would be a feature of the new scheme for Members' expenses.

  He also raised the issue of whether a property that was occupied by a relative other than a spouse or partner could in any circumstances be designated as a main residence under the current scheme. It was felt that this could in very specific circumstances be appropriate, subject to the thresholds established and depending on the detail of the Member's connection with the property, including relevant financial responsibilities.

  The Committee considered the extent to which the Clerk of the Parliaments should rely on written assurances given by Members in respect of his enquiries, especially when there was significant disparity between the assurances given by Members and the allegations made against them. The Committee acknowledged the limitations on the investigative powers of the Clerk of the Parliaments and concluded that the Clerk was justified in relying on explicit written assurances from Members, noting that the consequences for a Member found to have misled the Clerk would be serious. If, however, a Member was not able to give the Clerk the assurances he sought, it would be appropriate to refer the case to the Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests.

  There were still a number of outstanding complaints but the Clerk of the Parliaments now proposed to publish in the near future his conclusions on all the cases on which he had reached decisions.

  The Committee took note.

The Clerk of the Parliaments' Report on Lord Rennard Published 20 October 2009

Letter from Mr Michael Pownall, Clerk of the Parliaments, to Mr Christopher Galley dated 20 October 2009

COMPLAINT AGAINST LORD RENNARD

  I am writing in connection with your complaint concerning Lord Rennard's claims for reimbursement of expenses. I can report that I have completed my investigation. At the outset, I asked Lord Rennard to respond to your complaint and I have discussed it with him.

  So far as your complaint about Lord Rennard's participation in the work of the House of Lords—in particular over the period April 2007 to March 2008—is concerned, this has no bearing on the designation of his main residence. The number of times that Lord Rennard spoke and voted in the House is a matter for him. In fact, Lord Rennard's record over the period in question shows that he was far from inactive in the House and these statistics do not necessarily reflect the wider contribution which a Member makes to the work of the House. I should explain that claims for expenses arising from overnight subsistence can only be authorised for days on which a Member's attendance at the House is recorded. Your allegation that Lord Rennard did not attend on all the days for which he claimed overnight subsistence is not, therefore, well-founded; and I accordingly do not uphold this aspect of the complaint.

  Turning to your complaint about the designation of Lord Rennard's main residence, the direct answer to the question why he did not claim overnight subsistence between 2003 and 2007 is that during this period his only residence was in Stockwell.

  So far as Lord Rennard's re-designation of his main residence in 2007 is concerned, he has explained to me that his circumstances changed in 2007 when his wife took early retirement and he made significant changes to his lifestyle. He bought a flat in Eastbourne in October 2007 and registered this as his main residence with the House of Lords' Finance Department.

  Taking up some of the detailed points which you made, he has explained to me that he and his wife are on the electoral register for both residences and that they had voted in Eastbourne in the recent European and County Council elections; that they were automatically deemed to be members of the Stockwell Park Residents Association; and that his Liberal Democrat party membership had remained in London since party rules provide for membership to be held where you live or where you work. He explained that he is, nonetheless, actively involved with the local party in Eastbourne. He stressed too that he and his wife pay council tax for the Eastbourne property.

  I have also reviewed some of Lord Rennard's recent claim forms. These confirm that he travels to and from his Eastbourne address quite regularly at weekends (perhaps two out of three). He indicated that he normally resides there in recess periods (i.e. he stays there more than in his London property whilst recognising that he would often also be away from both homes through other work or holidays.) He also indicated that until recently his employment had entailed extensive periods of work and travel around the country of weekends.

  In view of the assurances by Lord Rennard about the change in his circumstances and the time he spends in Eastbourne, and in the absence of any definition of main address in the current guidance to the House of Lords' Members Expenses Scheme, I have come to the conclusion that I should not uphold the complaint.

  It may be helpful to point out that the Senior Salaries Review Body is currently undertaking a review of the whole system of financial support for Members, and in June of this year they were asked by the House of Lords' House Committee to consider the need for possible definitions of main residence.

  In these circumstances and after due consideration, I have decided not to uphold your complaint: I have concluded that Lord Rennard's claims for expenses were in accordance with the rules and guidance on Members' expenses applicable at the time.

  In line with our publication policy, we will make this letter available on the Parliamentary website.

20 October 2009

The Clerk of the Parliaments' Reports on Nine Members Published 9 February 2010

Letter from the Clerk of the Parliaments to Mr Frank Cannings dated 9 February 2010

  I am now in a position to respond to a number of the complaints which you made about certain Members of the House of Lords on 17 November 2009 and the further complaint which you made on 20 January 2010. The complaints all related to newspaper allegations that certain Members had made inappropriate use of the Members' reimbursement scheme.

  I should first indicate that in June 2009 the House Committee (a Committee whose responsibilities include supervision of the system of financial support for Members) took the decision to refer the current system of financial support for Members, who as you will be aware are unsalaried, for external review by the independent Review Body on Senior Salaries (SSRB). The SSRB published its report on 26 November 2009 (Cm 7746)—http://www.ome.uk.com/Parliamentary_Pay__Allowances.aspx. On 14 December 2009 the House of Lords debated and agreed to take forward the proposals submitted by the SSRB. In the course of 2010, the current scheme will, therefore, be replaced by a new scheme with clearer definitions and rules.

  I should also indicate that under a new Code of Conduct, which was agreed by the House of Lords on 30 November 2009 and which will take effect from 1 April 2010, complaints about Members' expenses will be considered by an independent House of Lords Commissioner for Standards.

  My responsibility as Accounting Officer is to ensure that the Members' reimbursement scheme is administered in accordance with the resolutions of the House on which it is founded, taking account of decisions by the House Committee. It is not for me retrospectively to devise rules for the current scheme which have not been in place to-date.

  The current scheme entitles Members to claim for travel and overnight subsistence in London when attending the House if "their main or only residence" is outside London. The principal complaint, both of the newspapers and yourself, has been that some Members have designated as their main residence a property which is not in practice their main residence in order to claim overnight subsistence.

  A feature of the current scheme is that it operates without any clear definition of "main residence". However, I have taken the view that there must be a minimum threshold below which it would be inappropriate for a Member to designate a property as a "main or only residence" and consequently to claim overnight subsistence when staying in London. Bearing this in mind, I have sought to establish some essential criteria against which the case of each individual Member can be considered. At my request, the House Committee has accordingly agreed a basis on which a threshold could be set below which the current scheme should not permit a claim bearing in mind any natural meaning of the term "main or only residence". The threshold set by the Committee is that the main residence has to be visited with a degree of frequency: in the order of at least once a month, over the year, when the House is sitting. Time spent at the main residence when the House is in recess is also a relevant factor. Ownership is not a requirement but is a factor in each case.

  I should point out that some of the designations of main residence which have been acceptable under the current scheme may not meet the criteria of a new scheme.

  I have sought and received confirmation from the House Committee of the principal that there will be circumstances in which it is appropriate to designate as a main residence a property which is occupied by a relative, other than a spouse or partner. Such a designation can be made properly under the current scheme, subject to the thresholds set out above, and dependent on the Member's connection with the property, including their financial contribution to the running costs.

  For every Member about whom a complaint has been submitted, I have examined the expenses claim forms from the date from which the House of Lords' Administration retain them (April 2006) to the start of the summer recess in 2009 (July 2009). Those forms show clearly when the Member claimed overnight subsistence and reimbursement of travel costs from and to the main residence. Where I have written to Members, I have sought to obtain answers to certain standard questions about their circumstances, including:

    (i) whether the Member owns or leases the main residence;

    (ii) where the Member was resident in each recess;

    (iii) what factors led the Member to designate the residence as the main residence;

    (iv) whether the pattern of journeys indicated by the Member's claim forms accurately represents the frequency of residency at the main residence.

  In each case, I have relied on the Member's explicit written assurances; in particular the assurance that the pattern of journeys indicated by the Member's claim forms accurately represents the frequency of stays at the main residence.

  I have not upheld the following complaints, listed in alphabetical order, for the reasons given:

BARONESS BARKER

  Baroness Barker claimed night subsistence and travel reimbursement from a designated main residence in Sussex. According to her pattern of travel claims, she was resident in Sussex about three weekends in four in term-time (i.e. periods when the House is sitting). She has assured me in writing that her claims are an accurate record of her journeys and that she was resident in Sussex for more of the recesses in question than she was in London. She did not own the Sussex property but paid rent for her use of it and met some expenses.

  Given Baroness Barker's assurances, I consider that her designation meets a test of main residence under the current scheme and accordingly do not uphold the complaint against her.

LORD COLWYN

  Lord Colwyn claimed night subsistence and travel reimbursement from a designated main residence in Gloucestershire. According to his pattern of travel claims, he was resident in Gloucestershire more than three weekends in four in term-time. He has assured me in writing that his claims are an accurate record of his journeys and has provided me with evidence of them; he has also assured me that he lives predominantly in Gloucestershire when the House is not sitting. He owns his Gloucestershire property and rents his London property for the purpose of attending the House.

  Given Lord Colwyn's assurances, I consider that his designation meets a test of main residence under the current scheme and accordingly do not uphold the complaint against him.

LORD HAWORTH

  Lord Haworth claimed night subsistence and travel reimbursement from a designated main residence in Ross & Cromarty. According to his pattern of travel claims, he was resident in Ross & Cromarty twice a month and occasionally more frequently in term-time. I have evidence of each of his journeys: he travelled by air and vouching is required for reimbursement of air travel.

  I consider that his designation meets a test of main residence under the current scheme and accordingly do not uphold the complaint against him.

BARONESS HAYMAN

  Baroness Hayman claimed night subsistence and travel reimbursement from a designated main residence in Norfolk from the start of our retained records in April 2006 until her election as Lord Speaker in July 2006; thereafter she has not been eligible to claim for overnight subsistence from the Members' reimbursement scheme and has been paid the office-holder's allowance under section 5 of the Ministerial and Other Salaries Act 1971. Baroness Hayman's travel claims under the Members' reimbursement scheme for the period April to July 2006 show that she was resident in Norfolk about three weekends in four during term-time. In September 2009 she made a full statement to the Sunday Times newspaper which I have seen and, in light of which, the article in the newspaper acknowledged that there was no question of the rules of the scheme having been broken. Baroness Hayman and her husband own their home in Norfolk and it is quite clear to me that they live there in recesses and at weekends, when pressure of work permits.

  I consider that her designation meets a test of main residence under the current scheme and accordingly do not uphold the complaint against her.

BARONESS MORGAN OF DREFELIN

  Baroness Morgan of Drefelin claimed night subsistence and travel reimbursement from a designated main residence in Cardigan from the start of our retained records in April 2006 until she joined the Government in January 2007. According to her pattern of travel claims, she was resident in Cardigan one or two weekends a month in term-time. She has assured me in writing that her claims are an accurate record of her journeys; that she made further journeys from and to Cardigan for which she did not claim; and that she was resident in Cardigan for the Easter, Whitsun and summer recesses of 2006. She and her husband own the Cardigan property.

  Given Baroness Morgan's assurances, and the specific guidance to me from the House Committee that occupation of a residence once a month and for periods of the recess is sufficient for designation of a main residence, I consider that her designation meets a test of main residence under the current scheme and accordingly do not uphold the complaint against her.

LORD MORRIS OF MANCHESTER

  Lord Morris of Manchester claimed night subsistence and travel reimbursement from a designated main residence in Manchester from the start of our retained records in April 2006 until May 2008 when, due to ill-health, he re-designated his main residence to London. According to his pattern of travel claims, he was resident in Manchester about three weekends in four in term-time and occasionally more frequently. I have evidence of each of his journeys: he usually travelled by train and bought his tickets using the Members' Travel Card.

  I consider that his designation meets a test of main residence under the current scheme and accordingly do not uphold the complaint against him.

BARONESS NORTHOVER

  Baroness Northover claimed night subsistence and travel reimbursement from a designated main residence in Sussex. According to her pattern of travel claims, she was resident in Sussex every weekend in term-time. She has assured me in writing that her claims are an accurate record of her journeys; she has further explained to me that the Sussex property was the family farm, owned in her and her mother's names, for which she has been solely responsible since her father's death in 2006. At the time the farm was being wound-up. She has provided me with evidence of her residency and involvement with the farm during the period in question.

  I consider that her designation met a test of main residence under the current scheme and accordingly do not uphold the complaint against her.

BARONESS THORNTON

  Baroness Thornton was appointed a Minister in January 2008. The period during which claims were submitted under the Members' reimbursement scheme with which I am concerned is therefore confined to the period April 2006 to January 2008.

  In 2001 Baroness Thornton designated as her main residence a property in Shipley, Yorkshire. The present property in Shipley was purchased in 2005. According to her pattern of travel claims for the period with which I am concerned, she visited the residence very frequently: every weekend in term-time, with a few visits not including overnight stays (ie, a return trip to Shipley within a day). She has confirmed her pattern of travel claims to me and that she continued to visit Shipley regularly at weekends during recesses.

  The property was owned and is occupied by Baroness Thornton's elderly and disabled mother. Baroness Thornton has met the mortgage and other costs of the property. Her legal interest in, and the financial contributions of the two parties to, the property where recorded in 2007 in a private Declaration of Trust, which updated a Declaration of Trust for the property owned prior to 2005. Baroness Thornton's solicitor has confirmed this in writing. The Declaration was recorded at the Land Registry in July 2009.

  In addition, Baroness Thornton has family and political connections in Shipley. She is registered to pay council tax in Shipley and is on the electoral roll there.

  As I have already mentioned, the House Committee has indicated that there will be circumstances in which it is appropriate to designate as a main residence a property which is occupied by a relative, other than a spouse or partner. Taking into account Baroness Thornton's well-established connection with the property in Shipley and the frequency of her visits, I have decided that this designation meets a test of main residence under the current scheme and accordingly do not uphold the complaint against her.

BARONESS WHITAKER

  Baroness Whitaker claimed night subsistence and travel reimbursement from a designated main residence in Sussex. According to her pattern of travel claims, she was resident in Sussex about three weekends in four in term-time. She has assured me in writing that her claims are an accurate record of her journeys and that she wsa usually resident in Sussex in recess. She and her husband rent the Sussex property and her husband spends most of the week in Sussex, irrespective of sittings of the House.

  Given Baroness Whitaker's assurances, I consider that her designation meets a test of main residence under the current scheme and accordingly do not uphold the complaint against her.

OTHER COMPLAINTS

  I have yet to complete my investigations into complaints about a number of other Members. As with the investigations covered in this letter, the outcome of each will be made public.

  I have suspended my investigation into certain other Members pending the conclusion of police investigations.

  On Friday 5 February 2010 the Director of Public Prosecutions announced that Lord Clarke of Hampstead would not face prosecution. As I regard this case as complex and serious, I have today referred the complaint relating to Lord Clarke to the Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests for examination.

  This letter has not convered two other Members who were the subject of your complaint.

  A member of the public complained about Lord Rennard on 16 June 2009 and I dismissed that complaint, with reasons, on 20 October 2009. I enclose a copy of my report to the complainant in that case.

  In addition, I have not considered your complaint about Baroness Scotland of Asthal because she was a Minister throughout the period for which we hold records and so not entitled to claim under the Members' reimbursement scheme.

9 February 2010

The Clerk of the Parliaments' Reports on Four Members Published 31 March 2010

COMPLAINTS RELATING TO MEMBERS' EXPENSES

  This document includes my responses to four complaints over Members' expenses claims.

  The responses cover:

Lord Bhatia

Viscount Falkland

Baroness Goudie

Lord Sheldon

1.  LORD BHATIA—REPONSE TO ANGUS ROBERTSON MP

  On 26 July 2009 you submitted a complaint to me about the expense claims of Lord Bhatia. The Committee for Privileges has agreed that in complex or serious cases I may refer complaints about expense claims to the Sub-Committee on Lords' Interests. This letter is to inform you that I have conducted an initial investigation and have now referred the complaint to the Sub-Committee for further investigation.

  In line with our publication policy, we will make this letter available on the Parliamentary website.

2.  VISCOUNT FALKLAND—REPONSE TO A MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC

  On 17 November 2009 you submitted a complaint to me about the expense claims of Viscount Falkland. I have investigated the complaint and I am now in a position to inform you of my conclusion. In line with our publication policy, we will make this letter available on the Parliamentary website.

  I should first indicate that in June 2009 the House Committee (a Committee whose responsibilities include supervision of the system of financial support for Members) took the decision to refer the current system of financial support for Members, who as you will be aware are unsalaried, for external review by the independent Review Body on Senior Salaries (SSRB). The SSRB published its report on 26 November 2009 (Cm 7746)—http://www.ome.uk.com/Parliamentary_Pay__Allowances.aspx. On 14 December 2009 the House of Lords debated and agreed to take forward the proposals submitted by the SSRB. In the course of 2010, the current scheme will, therefore, be replaced by a new scheme with clearer definitions and rules.

  I should also indicate that under a new Code of Conduct, which was agreed by the House of Lords on 30 November 2009 and amended on 30 March 2010 which will take effect from the start of the new Parliament, complaints about Members' expenses will be considered by an independent House of Lords Commissioner for Standards.

  My responsibility as Accounting Officer is to ensure that the Members' reimbursement scheme is administered in accordance with the resolutions of the House on which it is founded, taking account of decisions by the House Committee. It is not for me retrospectively to devise rules for the current scheme which have not been in place to-date.

  As with my investigations into other complaints, I have examined Viscount Falkland's expense claim forms from the date from which the House of Lords' Administration retains them (April 2006) to July 2009, when he stopped claiming night subsistence and travel reimbursement in respect of a designated main residence in Kent. According to his pattern of travel claims, Viscount Falkland was resident in Kent every weekend during Parliamentary terms over this period. He has assured me in writing that his claims are an accurate record of his stays in this property; and that he also spent part of each Easter and Summer recess in Kent. He neither owned nor leased the Kent property (which is owned by a relative) but he had sole use of it in the period in question and was partly responsible for its furnishing.

  In coming to a conclusion on this complaint, I am relying on the assurances which Viscount Falkland has given me about the frequency of his stays in Kent as reflected in his travel claims. I should also indicate that when the allegation was made that the residence was not a proper main residence, Viscount Falkland, in a statement, accepted that the absence of criteria for what constituted a main residence had enabled him to claim overnight subsistence for the Kent property, and he accepted that this might be seen as a loop-hole in the system. This has caused me some concern. However, for me the key factor in determining this complaint has been the frequency of stays in the property—every weekend without exception in term time. With this in mind, I have decided that the complaint should not be upheld.

3.  BARONESS GOUDIE—REPLY TO A MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC

  On 29 October 2009 you submitted a complaint to me about the expense claims of Baroness Goudie. I have investigated the complaint and I am now in a position to inform you of my conclusion. In line with our publication policy, we will make this letter available on the Parliamentary website.

  I have made a report of my investigation to the House Committee (a Committee whose responsibilities include supervision of the system of financial support for Members). I have decided that the complaint should be upheld in part; and the House Committee has agreed that Baroness Goudie should be asked to repay some of the expenses claimed for overnight subsistence. Baroness Goudie has agreed to do so. It is for the Committee for Privileges and Conduct to consider Baroness Goudie's conduct; and it will consider the complaint and my finding early in the new Parliament. The Committee will ultimately produce a report, which I will make available to you.

4.  LORD SHELDON—REPLY TO CHRIS GALLEY, SUNLIGHT CENTRE FOR OPEN POLITICS

  On 10 August 2009 you submitted a complaint to me about the expense claims of Lord Sheldon. I have investigated the complaint and I am now in a position to inform you of my conclusion. In line with our publication policy, we will make this letter available on the Parliamentary website.

  I should first indicate that in June 2009 the House Committee (a Committee whose responsibilities include supervision of the system of financial support for Members) took the decision to refer the current system of financial support for Members, who as you will be aware are unsalaried, for external review by the independent Review Body on Senior Salaries (SSRB). The SSRB published its report on 26 November 2009 (Cm 7746)—http://www.ome.uk.com/Parliamentary_Pay__Allowances.aspx. On 14 December 2009 the House of Lords debated and agreed to take forward the proposals submitted by the SSRB. In the course of 2010, the current scheme will, therefore, be replaced by a new scheme with clearer definitions and rules.

  I should also indicate that under a new Code of Conduct, which was agreed by the House of Lords on 30 November 2009 and amended on 30 March 2010 and which will take effect from the start of the new Parliament, complaints about Members' expenses will be considered by an independent House of Lords Commissioner for Standards.

  My responsibility as Accounting Officer is to ensure that the Members' reimbursement scheme is administered in accordance with the resolutions of the House on which it is founded, taking account of decisions by the House Committee. It is not for me retrospectively to devise rules for the current scheme which have not been in place to-date.

  As with my investigations into other complaints, I have examined Lord Sheldon's expenses claim forms from the date from which the House of Lords' Administration retains them (April 2006) to April 2009 when he stopped claiming night subsistence and travel reimbursement from a designated main residence in Manchester.

  Lord Sheldon designated a property in Manchester as his main residence until April last year—a property he and his wife had owned for many years. He indicated that he is still involved in the family business in the Manchester area; is still on the electoral roll there; and still involved in local politics. His immediate family regularly use the Manchester house as "an extended family home". In 2003 he transferred the title of the property to his son, although he has retained a contractual entitlement to dwell there.

  In November 2007 Lord Sheldon's wife suffered a serious illness and he therefore travelled less regularly to Manchester until in April 2009 he decided to designate his London flat as his main residence. He indicated that until April 2006 he had travelled to Manchester three or four times a month; and thereafter two or three times a month until November 2007. In fact, his travel claims for 2007 (for rail travel) suggest that he travelled rather less frequently, and I accordingly asked him to comment on this apparent discrepancy. I also asked him whether the utility bills relating to the Manchester property, which he had previously indicated had been in his name, had been paid by him.

  On frequency of travel, Lord Sheldon replied that on occasions when he travelled with his son to Manchester he did so without claiming the costs from the House. He therefore confirmed the frequency of his stays as previously indicated. On payment of utility bills, Lord Sheldon confirmed that they were paid directly by his business and subsequently charged to his personal account.

  The House Committee has endorsed my view that where a property is occupied by a relative other than a spouse of partner there could be specific circumstances in which it could be designated as a main residence depending on the frequency of stays and the Members' connection with the property. I am satisfied that Lord Sheldon's connections with the property, including some financial responsibility for it, were sufficiently strong. On the frequency of stays, he stayed in Manchester less often after his wife's illness in November 2007 and until he designated his London flat as his main residence in April 2009. However, his travel claim forms and the subsequent assurances I received about the frequency of his stays indicate a frequency around or above the minimum threshold which I have established and which the House Committee has endorsed. With the benefit of hindsight, it may have been appropriate for Lord Sheldon to have designated his London residence as his main residence rather earlier than April 2009, but I accept that it was difficult for him to anticipate his further circumstances at the time.

  I have accordingly decided that the complaint should not be upheld.

31 March 2010


 
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