Skip to main content

Computing for Labour

Volume 485: debated on Thursday 18 December 2008

To ask the Leader of the House pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 11 December 2008, Official Report, column 72WS, correcting the answer of 11 November 2008, Official Report, column 1129W, (1) whether hon. Members from parties other than the Labour Party are able to subscribe to Computing for Labour's services under the terms of its agreement with the House authorities; (244909)

(2) what the evidential basis was for the original calculation of expenditure on Computing for Labour;

(3) what representations her Office received from (a) the Labour Party and (b) Computing for Labour following the publication of the original answer;

(4) if she will publish the individual expenditure by each hon. Member on payments to Computing for Labour in 2007-08.

The House authorities have no agreement with Computing for Labour to provide services to Members of Parliament. Hon. Members subscribe independently to Computing for Labour (CFL) for various services related to their duties as Members of Parliament. They are able to claim for such costs against their parliamentary allowances where they relate to parliamentary duties.

The amounts paid to CFL are for subscriptions for software that is used for Members’ parliamentary duties dealing with correspondence from constituents and other casework. As I outlined in the written ministerial statement of 11 December 2008, Official Report, column 72WS, Members typically claim for an annual membership of £50. Most other claims are for £100 for the caseworker casework management system; £199 for related training; and £235 a year for relevant IT support via a support line.

It is entirely a matter for Computing for Labour whether it is prepared to accept commissions from hon. Members who are not members of the Labour Party.

The answer of 11 November 2008 was incorrect because the information was incorrectly provided by the Department of Resources, which inadvertently added data from an incorrect account code in the course of extracting and collating expenditure data from the House financial system. The Leader received no representations from the Labour party or from CFL following the publication of the original incorrect answer. As soon as the Department of Resources spotted the mistake the Member for Horsham's office were notified.

In 2007-08, 228 hon. Members paid a total of £61,188 to Computing for Labour through the House of Commons. Other Members may have met costs directly and claimed reimbursement. The sums involved in the latter circumstance are not available.

It is not the House's practice to disclose specific details of individual Members’ expenditure.