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Members: Allowances

Volume 503: debated on Thursday 7 January 2010

To ask the Leader of the House what timetable has been set for the cessation of the communications allowance. (308809)

No claims for expenditure incurred on or after 1 January 2010 will be paid from Communications Expenditure, with the exception of expenditure on advertisements for surgeries, including posters (subject to restrictions set out as follows) and maintenance of equipment funded from Communications Expenditure where there are contractual commitments.

Advertisements for surgeries, where the expenditure is incurred on or after 1 January 2010 and is funded by Communications Expenditure, must not include party colours or logos and slogans, must not include extraneous material, must be proportionate in nature, and may not include advertisements in national media or leaflets or flyers; references to other elected officials must be approved in advance by the Department of Resources.

No materials or resources, other than websites and office equipment, purchased from Communications Expenditure before 1 January 2010 may be used on or after that date unless the Member first returns the full cost of those resources to the House.

Where Communications Expenditure is used to fund an ongoing cost or item which occurs across both the restricted and unrestricted period, only the relevant fraction of the costs can be paid for out of Communications Expenditure, unless the item concerned is (i) one of the items excepted in the first paragraph above or (ii) the Member entered into an unconditional obligation to pay for the item using Communications Expenditure on or before 23 November 2009 and the item is not used on or after 1 January 2010.

The Department of Resources issued detailed guidance on 16 December 2009. Members who have any queries about their own Communications Expenditure during the restricted period should seek advice from the Department.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority has today published a draft allowances scheme for consultation under section 5 of the Parliamentary Standards Act 2009.