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Communications Allowance

Volume 470: debated on Thursday 10 January 2008

To ask the Leader of the House pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2007, Official Report, column 1225W, on the communications allowance, why the allowance is being increased by the retail prices index rather than the consumer prices index. (177597)

The communications allowance is uprated annually from 1 April in line with the RPI for the preceding December. This is in accordance with the MEC report on the allowance (HC 319, 2006-07) which was approved by the House on 28 March 2007. This is the same as the uprating procedures for IEP and ACA.

To ask the Leader of the House pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2007, Official Report, column 1225W, on the communications allowance, what representations she has received supporting an increase in the communications allowance by more than the rate of inflation; and what assessment she has made of such representations. (177598)

I have received no such representations. The communications allowance is uprated each year in line with the retail prices index. This follows the recommendations of the report of the Members Estimate Committee (HC 182, 2006-07) which was approved by the House on 28 March 2007.

To ask the Leader of the House pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2007, Official Report, column 1225W, on the communications allowance, what the aggregated budgeted expenditure on the communications allowance is expected to be in 2007-08. (177599)

The communications allowances was introduced in April 2007 and set at £10,000 per annum for each hon. Member, with the possibility of adding money transferred from staffing and IEP—incidental expenses provision. The maximum spend from the basic allowance in one year is therefore £6.46 million. The Members Estimate Committee, in its report on the communications allowance (HC 319, 2006-07) assumed similar take-up to the other allowances. As noted in the report, this equates to a likely total annual cost of the allowance of about £6 million. Currently spending on the communications allowance is running below this level.