CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

Letter from Senior House of Commons Official to Julian Lewis MP, 30 June 2009

Dear Dr Lewis,

ACA Claims

You asked this office if we could confirm the process by which you asked for advice on whether wooden flooring would be an allowable claim against the additional costs allowance in 2006. The issue has been raised with you by a newspaper.

I can confirm that you asked this department for advice in January 2006 as to which of a number of costs might be allowable within the rules. At no time did you indicate that you intended to claim for these items. We accordingly wrote to you on 23 January 2006 stating that some of the items you mentioned – redecoration, shelving, organisation and disposal costs – were allowable, but that you would not be able to claim for costs for flooring. You accepted this advice and accordingly submitted a claim on 17 February 2006 for those items we had previously said were allowable.

I can therefore confirm that you did not at any time submit a claim for flooring, and indeed your claim specifically excluded the item in question. By asking for our advice in advance of making any claim you were following the guidelines in the 2005 Green Book, which said

“if you are unsure about whether an expense may be met from the allowance please contact the help number for advice” (p.11),

which is in accordance with best practice as recommended by this department.

Therefore, I can also confirm that it is not true that you attempted to claim £6000 in expenses for a wooden floor at your second home.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Sear

Assistant Director of Operations/Head of Policy
Department of Resources
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA