IPSA's rules and living in London
In July 2009 I purchased, with a mortgage, a small London flat to live in when performing my Parliamentary duties. I had hoped to be allowed to remain in this flat for as long as I remained an MP. Mortgage interest was claimed for this property for approximately eight months until the 2010 election.
The new Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) expenses scheme did not allow MPs to claim the cost of mortgage interest. I could not, therefore, afford to live in my London flat and I had no choice but to sell it or to rent it out. Having only recently purchased it, I chose to rent it out and this information has been in the public domain for two years, it having been properly declared in the Register of Members’ Interests.
IPSA specified that when MPs are away from home they must live in rented property or stay in a hotel. When I am in London, I now therefore live in a rented flat. This is not my preference – I would have preferred to continue to live in the flat I own, but IPSA’s well-meaning rules designed to safeguard the taxpayers' interests and promote transparency oblige me to do so. Ironically, the costs to the taxpayer would have been lower had I been allowed to continue with my previous arrangements.
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