All MPs get the same standard expenses to cover the cost of doing the job. That’s because we’re expected to be in London Monday to Thursday every week and because we need an office, equipment and a small team of staff to help us with all the work.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, or IPSA, deals with this as an independent body separate from Parliament.
As an MP, IPSA gives me the following expenses (2018/19):
Staff Budget – £153,620
The staffing budget is largely made up of payroll costs, which are paid directly to the staff I employ to assist me in carrying out my duties in Westminster and in Bristol North West. The budget covers all payroll costs (salaries, employers’ national insurance contributions and pension contributions). It also covers pooled staffing services, staff training and expenses for volunteers. Staffing costs account for approximately three quarters of the total spend by an MP on average.
I employ seven people in Bristol (three are part-time and one is an intern), one full time researcher in Westminster and two interns for a few hours each week.
Office Budget – £24,880
The office costs budget allows me to buy everything I need to run my office and constituency surgeries – this includes costs such as rent, business rates, telephone bills, equipment, contents insurance, my website and stationery.
I rent a serviced office for my staff in Westbury-on-Trym, which costs around £16,000 per year. The additional budget is used to pay for the use of community buildings for surgeries, and for things like the telephone bill and stationary for the office.
London Budget – £28,285
The London budget covers the cost of my accommodation in London. This is because I have to be in London for four days a week. This budget covers the rent, council tax and associated bills.
Bristol Budget – £0
I use my salary as an MP to pay for all of my living costs at home in Bristol.
Travel Budget – £Variable
In addition to the above budgets, my travel costs are covered for: (i) travel to and from Westminster; and (ii) within Bristol North West whilst doing my job as an MP.
As these costs vary depending on when I travel, and how often I travel, these costs are published on a quarterly basis by IPSA.
This budget covers car fuel, parking costs and any rail or air fare that I incur that is for my parliamentary duties but which isn’t covered by a select committee or official body in parliament (such as the commonwealth, for example).