STATEMENT ON THE PUBLICATION OF MPs’ EXPENSES FROM PETER LUFF, MP FOR MID WORCESTERSHIRE
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STATEMENT ON THE PUBLICATION OF MPs’ EXPENSES FROM PETER LUFF, MP FOR MID WORCESTERSHIRE

I am very disturbed and angry that the government is bringing forward proposals to exempt MPs from freedom of information requests in relation to their expense claims. We have nothing to hide and openness would put to rest many of the understandable suspicions voters have about these claims.

Sadly, I may not be able to be in Parliament at the time of the votes. In my position as Chairman of the Business and Enterprise committee I have a long-standing invitation to meet business people outside London on Thursday which, in the current economic circumstances, in feel it would be wrong to cancel. However, I hope the votes on this matter come before I have to leave to catch my train – I will certainly vote against any exemption if I am able to do so.

In the event the House votes against greater openness, I will give serious consideration to publishing my own detailed expenses. My only concerns are practical - the amount of time this will take, both to post the considerable quantity of information and to deal with the possible increase in enquiries from constituents and others who will not be able to compare my claims with those of other MPs. During the recession I and my office are already extremely busy and I think the problems of my constituents, the economy and of businesses should take priority, but if the Commons is unwise enough to vote for an exemption, it may be necessary for me to take my own steps.

It is worth noting, and although I deplore the government’s intention, that there will be significantly more information released under their proposals than is currently the case. Although I believe we could and should go further, the following detailed information will, in future, be publicly available for all MPs:

Such information about payments made to, or on behalf of, Hon Members which is already published routinely in accordance with the scheme shall continue to be published;

In addition, information relating to Members' expenditure from the beginning of the current Parliament shall be published in relation to each financial year, to the extent that such information is separately identifiable, under the following categories:

(a) Administrative and Office Expenditure:
(i) accommodation costs for offices, surgeries, etc;
(ii) office equipment and supplies;
(iii) telephones and other telecommunications;
(iv) professional fees and charges;
(v) agency and other staff costs;
(vi) travel costs;
(vii) utilities;

(b) Personal Additional Accommodation Expenditure:
(i) mortgage interest;
(ii) rent;
(iii) hotel costs;
(iv) council tax;
(v) fixtures, fittings and furnishings;
(vi) subsistence;
(vii) other household costs, including service charges, utilities, telecommunications, maintenance and repairs;

(c) Communications Expenditure:
(i) websites;
(ii) reports and surveys;
(iii) delivery charges, postage and stationery;
(iv) advertising;
(v) equipment;

(d) Staffing Expenditure;

(e) Travel Expenditure in relation to travel by Members:
(i) car, including third party vehicle rental and mileage;
(ii) rail;
(iii) air;
(iv) other UK and European travel;

(f) Resettlement Grant;

(g) Winding-up Expenditure.


ENDS


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