Jonathan Walker

Dear House of Commons,

Please could you inform me:

how much in Resettlement Grant each former MP leaving the House of Commons following the May 6 2010 General Election was entitled to, broken down by former MP;

which of these former MPs have applied for the grant,

and how much each of those who applied have received, broken down by former MP.

Yours faithfully,

Jonathan Walker

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Walker,

Thank you for your request for information dated 8 June 2010, received by us on the same day, which is copied below.

We will endeavour to respond to your request promptly but in any case within 20 working days i.e. on or before 6 July 2010.

If you have any queries about your request, please use the request number quoted in the subject line of this email.

Yours sincerely

Victoria Carpenter
Freedom of Information Assistant

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FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

Dear Mr Walker

Thank you for your request for information which is copied below.

In response to your question:

1. how much in Resettlement Grant each former MP leaving the House
of

Commons following the May 6 2010 General Election was entitled
to,

broken down by former MP;

Amounts of Resettlement Grants for each Member can be determined from the
information available on the Parliamentary website: Green Book 2006
version (section 9.1.1 and 9.1.2) provides a calculation table
[1]http://mpsallowances.parliament.uk/mpslo...
. Members pay dating back to 1997 is available at:
[2]http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commo....

Biographical information about length of service can also be found online,
for example
[3]http://www.parliament.uk/briefingpapers/...
.

2. which of these former MPs have applied for the grant, and how
much each of those who applied have received, broken down by former
MP.

We have concluded that this information is exempt from the disclosure. We
can confirm that this information is held by the House of Commons.
However, your request for this information is refused. This information is
exempt by virtue of section 40 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
(the exemption for personal information), as disclosure of this
information to the public generally, in the House’s view, would not be
consistent with data protection principles in the Data Protection Act 1998
(DPA). In particular, it cannot be disclosed without contravening the
first principle as none of the relevant conditions for the processing of
personal data are satisfied. This is an absolute exemption and the public
interest test does not apply.

In reaching this decision, we have particularly considered the application
of Condition 6 (Schedule 2) DPA : “the processing is necessary for the
purposes of legitimate interests pursued by……. the third party or
parties to whom the data is disclosed, except where the processing is
unwarranted in any particular case by reason of prejudice to the rights
and freedoms or legitimate interests of the data subject.”

We consider that, in the case of the amounts to which Members are entitled
to, the balance in this Condition falls in favour of disclosure. However,
in the case of the information requested concerning names of those Members
who have claimed the grant and the amounts paid, we consider that
disclosure is not necessary and that the interests in disclosure do not
outweigh those of Members.The resettlement grant is described as an
“entitlement”, in contrast to the other allowances, in the Resolution.
It is up to Members whether they claim it and that decision would seem to
be based on their personal financial position or their view of their
entitlement to claim it, both of which are personal issues concerning
someone who is no longer a Member. The grant is also intended to assist
with the transition back into a non-parliamentary life, it is not paying
for expenses incurred due to parliamentary duties. All of that adds up to
more of a private issue, rather than a public one.

You may, if dissatisfied with the treatment of your request, ask the House
of Commons to conduct an internal review of this decision. Requests for
internal review should be addressed to: Freedom of Information Officer,
Department of Resources, House of Commons London SW1 OAA or
[4][House of Commons request email]. Please ensure that you specify the nature of
your complaint and any arguments or points that you wish to make.

If you remain dissatisfied, you may appeal to the Information Commissioner
at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Yours sincerely,

Bob Castle

Head of Information Rights and Information Security

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Jonathan Walker

Dear House of Commons,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of House of Commons's handling of my FOI request 'MPs’ Resettlement Grants'.

It is not relevant that the resettlement grant is described as an entitlement. MPs’ salaries and the extra payments awarded to select committee chairmen are also entitlements rather than allowances, and there is a clearly established principle that these should be disclosed.

It is speculation that MPs may claim resettlement grants based on their personal financial position. Their are able to claim the grant regardless of their personal finances. Revealing which MPs claimed the grant would not reveal anything at all about their personal financial situation.

While the grant is awarded to former MPs, it is awarded under Commons arrangements which were in place during the previous Parliament, when they were Members. Their view of their entitlement to claim it is not a private issue.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:
http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/mp...

Yours faithfully,

Jonathan Walker

Francis Irving left an annotation ()

Blog post with views on this request:

http://dizzythinks.net/2010/07/commons-r...

FOICOMMONS, House of Commons

1 Attachment

F10-314

Dear Mr Walker

Please find attached response to your request for an internal review of your Freedom of Information request F10-314.

Yours sincerely
Bob Castle

Head of Information Rights and Information Security

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