Incorrect claim about how much MPs can claim for breakfast recirculates online

12 April 2024
What was claimed

MPs can claim £50 for a breakfast.

Our verdict

Incorrect. MPs are only allowed to claim food expenses if they spend a night away from their constituency or London on parliamentary business, and this is limited to £25 per night away.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen posts on Facebook inaccurately claim members of Parliament “can claim £50 for a breakfast”. 

We wrote about very similar posts last month, but the claim has continued to circulate since then. As we first explained in 2020, this claim is incorrect. 

While MPs can claim some money for food, this is only if they spend a night away from their constituency or London for parliamentary business, and they’re only allowed to claim £25 per night they spend away. This covers all meals they may have at this time. 

The latest Facebook posts are a screenshot of text that says: “Not one family in Britain should have to use a food bank when a mp can claim £50 for a breakfast [sic]”. 

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What food expenses can MPs claim?

MPs are allowed to claim expenses related to their work such as office or staffing costs.

What they’re allowed to claim for, and how much they can claim, is determined by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). This is an independent body which regulates the pay and pensions of MPs and their staff, as well as MPs’ business costs.

Under rules set by IPSA, MPs are only able to claim subsistence (food and non-alcoholic drinks) expenses if they travel for parliamentary business and have to stay overnight at a location that is neither their constituency nor London. They have to provide evidence of the costs incurred

The amount MPs are allowed to claim for food is limited to £25 per night spent away. This could be spent on a breakfast, but is still less than the £50 referred to in the posts. 

If an MP needs to spend a night in a hotel for parliamentary business, they can, in some circumstances, claim the cost of the hotel stay. 

In Europe or London, they can claim up to a maximum of £210 per night, or £150 if they’re spending a night in the UK outside London. This could include the cost of breakfast, if breakfast is included in the price of the hotel. 

IPSA rules say MPs can claim for hotel stays in London if they have been working after 10pm on parliamentary matters. Some MPs may claim the cost of hotels in London, instead of rental accommodation. MPs who represent constituencies in the London area are not eligible for accommodation costs. 

Full Fact has written about misleading claims and misconceptions about MPs’ expenses and pay before. We often see these types of claims spread widely online. False or misleading claims about politicians and the political process have the potential to affect people’s opinions of individuals, parties or how they choose to vote.

Image courtesy of Ben Kolde.

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