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Members: Allowances

Volume 487: debated on Wednesday 28 January 2009

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission (1) by what date the House of Commons Commission expects the process of scanning and redacting the receipts for hon. Members' expenses since 2004 to be completed; (251845)

(2) by what date the House of Commons Commission expects to place the details of hon. Members' expenses since 2004 in the public domain.

The scanning and editing of Members' claims, receipts etc. for the years 2004-05 to 2007-08 is well advanced. Once this work is complete, individual hon. Members will need to check the records relating to them, and further editing may then be required. A date for publication cannot yet be set.

To ask the hon. Member for North Devon, representing the House of Commons Commission for what reason backdated details of hon. Members' expenses have not yet been published; what factors account for the delay; and if he will ensure that all relevant information will be placed in the public domain by the end of February 2009. (249218)

The task of scanning and editing for publication a very large amount of information has proved more difficult than originally envisaged when the proposed arrangements for disclosure of Members' expenses down to receipt level were announced last summer. Ensuring that hon. Members' legitimate security and privacy concerns were taken into account has been complex and has required careful attention to over 700,000 individual records. Once scanning and editing has been completed, individual hon. Members will need to check the records relating to them, and further editing may then be required. This process will not be complete by the end of February 2009 and a date for publication cannot yet be set.