MPs accused of claiming expenses for ‘dependent’ adult children
A government minister is among MPs accused of boosting their expenses by claiming for adult children who are “dependent” on them.
New rules introduced in 2017 allow MPs to claim up to £5,400 in additional second home expenses in a move that was intended to help young families rent bigger homes.
However, according to The Daily Telegraph, some MPs have been claiming expenses for adult children in their 20s.
Energy Minister Claire Perry claimed an additional £9,846 on top of her £22,760 standard allowance for her three children who are aged 17, 19 and 22, the paper said.
Ms Perry, who earns £111,148 a year, insisted that her claims were made in accordance with the rules set by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa).
She said: "All claims are made completely in accordance with the Ipsa rules."
Five further MPs have reportedly been identified as claiming allowances for adult children, but Ipsa was unable to confirm whether MPs had broken the rules.
In 2017 Jack Lopresti, who is married to fellow MP Andrea Jenkyns, registered to claim up to £10,870 for two dependents, who he claims are children over 18 from his previous marriage.
Mr Lopresti said this was an “error” and that he has repaid the £202 wrongly claimed in 2017-18.
Rebecca Pow, a government aide to Amber Rudd, also said she would repay incorrectly overclaimed money after reportedly claiming £629 in rent in 2017-18 for a dependent and continues to be registered for children.
Labour MP Gill Furniss declined to explain why she had claimed £91 for one registered dependent despite her three children being aged between 19 and 24.
The age limit for claiming for dependent children is 18 but rises to 21 under certain exemptions such as having a child in full-time education who requires care.
Though MPs are operating within the rules, the former chair of the parliamentary standards committee, Sir Alistair Graham, said: “One despairs that after 10 years MPs have not learnt the fundamental ethical lessons of the 2009 scandal over expenses.”
The rules surrounding what MPs can claim in expenses has been massively overhauled since the expenses scandal in 2009, particularly regarding claims for additional properties.
MPs can now only claim rent for a second home, when previously they could claim up to £24,000 for the interest payments on mortgages.
The maximum second home rent allowance was initially changed to £17,000, but this was increased to £22,000 in 2017 after MPs claimed the limit was not supportive of young families.
The maximum allowance per dependent child also increased from £2,425 to £5,435.