Labour MEPs' transparency arrangements
Labour Members of the European Parliament are committed to the highest standards of propriety. This guidance note lays down the standards that European Parliamentary Labour Party Members are expected to follow.
This guidance note clarifies the European Parliament's own rules on use of expenses as explained in the Implementing Measures for the Statute for Members of the European Parliament, and imposes an additional requirement on all UK Labour MEPs to have their general expenditure allowance reviewed on an annual basis through an audit process carried out by an independent qualified accountant who provides the EPLP with a signed letter testifying that the allowances have been spent in accordance with the European Parliament rules and the EPLP's own guidelines.
The auditor must be given a copy of the EPLP guidance note and the European Parliament's rules to assist in their work. The audit process will show that proper accounting records have been kept; that the financial statements are in accordance with the accounting records; that financial statements comply with statutory or other requirements.
Please note that online transparency information may be amended in light of information provided during this audit process, which must be completed at the conclusion of the financial year.
EPLP Members have agreed to publish online quarterly General Expenditure Declarations, including information relating to their staffing complement, and travel and subsistence claims.
Labour MEPs will provide the EPLP with:
- A link to their European Parliament web page giving details regarding staff employed through the Parliamentary Assistance Allowance;
- The name of their recognised paying agent;
- A breakdown of expenditure from the General Expenditure Allowance according to agreed headings;
- Travel Allowances claimed;
- Number of days claimed under the Subsistence Allowance;
- A copy of the auditor’s letter of certification by the 31st March each year.
For more information about the EPLP's transparency regime, or for information about the previous parliamentary term, please email email@example.com.
Background on European Parliament allowances
The rules on use of allowance are set out in Title I Chapter 4, Reimbursement of Expenses, and Chapter 5, Assistance from Personal Staff, of the Implementing Measures for the Statute for Members of the European Parliament.
Article 62 (1) states that allowances "shall be reserved exclusively for the funding of activities linked to the exercise of a Member’s mandate and may not be used to cover personal expenses or to fund grants or donations of a political nature"
Article 28 describes in detail which office costs can be funded from the general expenditure allowance, inter alia:
- Costs related to office space such as rent, utility bills, insurance and cleaning.
- Working costs such as postal charges, phone bills, internet subscription, subscriptions to databases and costs relating to hosting and domain names of MEPs web sites.
- Office supplies such as stationery.
- Documentation such as books, periodicals and newspapers.
- Cost of producing and distributing communication materials such as leaflets, reports and business cards.
- Office equipment (such as telephones and fax machines) and furniture.
- IT equipment including software.
- Mobile phones.
- Representational activities such as costs for organising events, public meetings and conferences.
- Administrative costs such as accounting and office bookkeeping not relating to the Parliamentary Assistance Allowance.
Article 33 sets out provisions for assistance from personal staff stating "Only expenses for assistance which is necessary and directly linked to the exercise of a Member’s parliamentary mandate may be defrayed."
This can include posts related to the employment of staff in the UK and/or European Parliament, including a contribution to a pension scheme, staff training, staff recruitment costs, employer's insurance, staff travel and missions, health and safety costs, redundancy, sickness and maternity cover.
Staff includes permanent, temporary, special project staff, stagiaires and staff employed jointly with other members.
Members of staff employed in Brussels and/or Strasbourg are paid directly from the European Parliament. Members of staff employed in the UK are paid through a named and independent paying agent.
Where the amount remitted from the Parliamentary authorities has exceeded the costs incurred under the Secretarial Assistance Allowance, a surplus may arise. This surplus must be repaid to the parliamentary authorities in accordance with the Rules and Regulations of the European Parliament.
Article 10.1a outlines the reimbursement of Members' travel expenses for journeys to and from Parliament's places of work from their home, known as 'ordinary travel expenses'.
Ordinary travel expenses are reimbursed on receipt of relevant travel documents and attestation of attendance at the European Parliament in Brussels or Strasbourg.
Article 10.1b and c outlines the reimbursement of Members' travel expenses for journeys within their constituency and Member State, and additional travel expenses for duties undertaken outside the UK.
These travel expenses are reimbursed on receipt of relevant travel documents.
Article 24 outlines the entitlement to subsistence allowance, namely MEP's full or part day attendance at the European Parliament in Brussels and/or Strasbourg.