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Short Money

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Leader of the House (1) how many members of staff are paid for out of Short money on behalf of the Leader of the Opposition; how many staff were paid for from this allowance in each of the previous four years; and if he will make a statement; (86152)

(2) for what purposes Short money may be used; and if he will make a statement.

Short money is given to Opposition parties to help them to carry out their parliamentary business. This can include research associated with Front-Bench duties, developing and communicating alternative policies to those of the Government and shadowing the Government’s Front Bench. There is specific provision for meeting costs necessarily incurred in running the office of the Leader of the Opposition. Each Opposition party has to provide a certificate from an independent auditor each year to the effect that all the expenses claimed were in respect of the party’s parliamentary business. No information is available to me about the number of staff employed by the Leader of the Opposition who are paid from Short money.