(2) how much was allocated for 2007-08 to the communications allowance;
(3) what the aggregate expenditure on allowances for hon. Members was in (a) 1996-97 and (b) the most recent year for which figures are available.
The information is as follows:
1. I refer the hon. Member to the rules in the Green Book which allow Members some flexibilities to transfer money between allowances to meet the needs of their parliamentary and constituency work. The amounts available for parliamentary allowances for 2008-09 are not yet available.
2. Parliamentary allowances expenditure is limited only to the extent of the maximum rate payable for each allowance. Each Member has access to the communications allowance set at £10,000 in 2007-08, which means a maximum possible spend across all members of £6.46 million in the year.
3. The combined expenditure for Members' allowances (excluding travel costs and auxiliary expenditure) reported in the House of Commons Members Resource Accounts for 2006-07 (HC832) was £77.8 million. In 1996-97 the figure was £36.8 million. The allowance system changed significantly in July 2001 on the recommendation of the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) when new allowances were introduced.