Decision Time

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:58 pm on 8th June 1999.

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Local Office Costs Allowance:

(1) Subject to sub-paragraphs (2), (2A), (2B) and (2C) a member shall be eligible for an allowance of £10,000 for each financial year to enable the member, within the constituency or region from which he or she was returned -

(a) to run an office; and

(b) to meet with constituents either on a one to one basis or as a group.

(2) Without prejudice to the generality of sub-paragraph (1), this allowance may be used for the following:

(a) lease of a property or rental of premises;

(b) the provision of utilities;

    1. the purchase or lease of office furniture or equipment or the purchase of stationery.
(2A) Where in a particular region more than one regional member is returned from a registered political party's regional list, the amount of local office costs allowance for which each such regional member is eligible shall not be £10,000 but shall instead be computed as follows-

(a) there shall be added together the amount of the office costs allowance referred to in paragraph (1) in respect of one such regional member and 30% of that sum in respect of each of the other such regional members;

(b) the resulting total sum shall be divided by the number of such regional members; and

(c) that amount shall be the local office costs allowance for which each such regional member shall be eligible.

(2B) Subject to sub-paragraph (2C), where sub-paragraph (2A) applies the office costs allowance shall be used to enable the regional members concerned-

(a) to run only one office in the particular region; and

(b) to meet constituents either on a one to one basis or as a group;

(c) and accordingly some or all of the regional members concerned may pool all or part of their allowances under this paragraph in order to run such an office provided that the members concerned give written notice to the SPCB.

(2C) Where sub-paragraph (2A) applies in relation to a region mentioned in section C of Annex C (eligibility for exceptional needs allowance: the largest regions), the SPCB-

(a) may determine after inquiry that the regional members concerned may run one additional office because that is necessary for the regional members concerned to carry out their Parliamentary duties effectively; and

(b) in those circumstances may increase the local office costs allowance to which each of the regional members concerned is entitled by such a sum as the SPCB may determine but the total of such increases shall not exceed 100% of the office costs allowance referred to in sub-paragraph (1).

(3) Where local office costs are higher than in other parts of Scotland due to the state of the local economy, a member may refer the matter to the SPCB for its determination as to whether the member should be eligible for an allowance greater than the amount mentioned in sub-paragraph (1), but in any event no greater than 10% of that amount.