In my election campaign I promised to be transparent about the expenses I claim, and to minimize them. I stand by this and know it’s your money that I’m spending. I apply the general rule that if I wouldn’t pay for it myself, I won’t expect the tax payer to pay for it for me.
So here’s what I’m doing:
Accommodation – the maximum claim for a hotel per night is £150 (£130 up to March 2011) – I’ve set myself the target of a maximum cost 10% below this but generally aim for the cost not to exceed £100.
I’ve looked in to whether a flat in London would be cheaper in the long run. Given that rents are around £330 a week, for 52 weeks a year, and there are then all the on-costs eg Council Tax, I don’t think it does work out cheaper. I can’t see the point of paying rent for August and September when I’ll only be in London for 6 nights.
Travel – the maximum claim is the full standard open fare. The scheme allows me to claim 1st class fares as long as they are less than the standard class open fare. I will use advance or off peak fares where possible and travel in Standard class. I will use the underground or buses in London and not use taxis unless unavoidable.
Food – the scheme allows me to claim the costs of meals where Parliament sits until after 7:30pm. I will not claim for any food.
I will publish a summary of my expenses regularly and the full details will be published by IPSA, the body that administers the scheme, periodically.