Review Of Parliamentary Expenses
June 30, 2009
As an inner London MP I am disbarred from claiming for a second home allowance. Furthermore I have never employed or remunerated from public funds any member of my family. I was given a clean bill of health by the Daily Telegraph in its “Expenses Files 2004-2008” enquiry published in May/June 2009 – naturally that newspaper also had access to the full, un-redacted version of my Office Costs and Incidental Expenses in the course of its enquiries (rather than the edited version made available to the general public).
I am now publishing details below of my expenses incurred during the budgetary year of April 2008-March 2009 in my role as Member of Parliament for Cities of London and Westminster. I have also attached the listing of my accounts for this period as published by the Parliamentary Fees Office.
Click here to view the pdf of expenses incurred in the budgetary year 08/09.
I intend to publish my expenses for 2009-10 on a monthly basis beginning in July 2009.
Click here to view the pdf of expenses incurred during the first quarter of 2009/10
Parliamentary Office Salaries 2008-2009
My total salary was £63,291
I automatically received the London Cost Allowance of £2,916 as an inner London MP.
My office salary payments totalled £91,905 as against a budgetary allowance of £100,205 (£8,300 below the maximum). The personnel in my private office during most of 2008-09 were Chris Furey (Chief of Staff – three days a week); Julia Dockerill (senior researcher) and Rob Leitch (personal assistant).
The total of my Incidental Expenses Provision (IEP) and my Communications Allowance was £31,741 against a provision of £32,593 (£852 below the maximum). The details of the IEP (including stationery, additional travel, home office phones office incidentals and petty cash) are shown on the attached pages.
In 2001 I took the decision that it would be an unwarranted cost to the taxpayer to take up an MPs’ entitlement of up to 800 sq ft of office space with parking space in the constituency (this would have been colossally expensive as office space is probably the most expensive of any constituency in the UK). Nor did I wish to sublet space from my local Conservative Association – although I appreciate many MPs do this I have always been concerned at the potential conflicts of interest. Instead I felt it would be best value to the taxpayer to make an office at my home, which I have done since my election in 2001 and for which I have never charged any rent, council tax, insurance or regular utilities bill.
Home Phone Charges
You will see monthly costs associated with phone and Sky Digital charges. I have charged monthly for the cost of a mobile phone and quarterly for one designated home number which I use exclusively for parliamentary business. At home I also have two other lines on which personal calls are made (naturally for which I make no charge to the Office Costs Allowance).
I agreed with the Fees Office in 2005 that rather than estimating an apportionment of costs for both my home office computer system (hardware, maintenance, insurance and running costs) and also, for personal and family use, an NTL package, with internet connection, basic cable TV package (including news and parliamentary programmes) as well as sports and other optional channels, I should instead cover the full computer costs out of my own pocket and charge the entire monthly NTL bill to my IEP.
On my move to my current home in 2006 the provider switched to Sky Digital which I continue to claim in full from my IEP. I have calculated that the all-in cost to the taxpayer by paying for this in full is less than it would be if I were to claim for a half share of the home internet, and computer line, insurance and maintenance costs incurred monthly.
The Communications Allowance includes all office costs associated with the following:-
- Print, production and photography of my colour Annual Report posted to all households in our constituency (52,000 copies).
- Maintenance and updating of my constituency software package (CMITS) as developed specifically for use by Members of Parliamen.t
- Quarterly e-newsletters.
- Hosting of website.
- Maintenance and updating of my website (markfieldmp.com).
Much of this work has now been taken in-house and the extra work was carried out by my Chief of Staff’s publishing and communications business, Chris Furey Associates. Printing and mailing was carried out by Gemini Press Ltd.
As regards my travel expenses normally I walk to work but I also claim a central zone Oyster card annual ticket (cost £968 in 2008-09) to enable me to travel to and from constituency engagements by tube or occasionally bus during the working day, in the evenings and at the weekend. Annually I also spend around £100 on taxi fares when attending formal City dinners as the local MP.
Paid Employment Outside the House Of Commons
I am a member of theAdvisory Committee of the London School of Commerce which is an independent further and higher education organisation fully accredited by the British Accreditation Council for Independent Further and Higher Education. It is a member of Education UK.
As a member of the Advisory Committee I advise on the maintenance of the highest standards of quality and service for the school. My role covers advising about mid and long-term strategy; acting as an ambassador with the school’s educational partners; speaking at conferences as representative of the school on a range of political issues; furthering relationships with British Council and High Commissions overseas; travelling abroad roughly once every eighteen months to partner schools abroad.
No specific hours contracted but on average I spend four hours per week on this work. Parliamentary duties naturally take precedence over any commitments I undertake for the London School of Commerce.
During 2008-09 my gross salary was £29,500. My contract will continue through the rest of this year with a monthly remuneration of £2,500.