Open and honest
The MP expenses scandal was a shameful indication of where the real priorities of much of the political establishment lie. Alleged criminal activity related to the funding behind the Leave campaign during the EU Referendum only further undermines public confidence in politics.
Caroline believes in being as open as possible about her work as an MP and about her expenses and funding.
MPs' expenditure is overseen by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), which publishes details of the business costs and expenses claimed by each Member. Information is updated every two months.
Details of Caroline's expenses are available here.
IPSA provides money for staffing, office costs and MPs’ travel and overnight allowances. Caroline lives in Brighton Pavilion – she does not have a second home. When Parliamentary business runs late and she needs to stay in London, she stays at a small hotel run by the Quakers.
Caroline has also received what's known as short money, and at the moment she uses that to employ two full-time members of staff and to part fund another. Short expenditure and income is independently audited as part of the Green Party's accounts. Other staff costs are met by fundraising such as crowdfunding.
From May 2015 all MPs received a pay increase equivalent to £6,940 per year. Caroline opposed this by making a submission to the relevant consultation process, but MPs had no say in the final decision.
She decided instead to donate to local good causes via the pay roll giving scheme. Caroline donates to groups that she feels are doing excellent work in her constituency to tackle social inequality and promote sustainability. She has made donations to Brighton Women’s Centre and to a project called Consent in the City, which is run by RISE and the Survivors Network, and also to The Clock Tower Sanctuary, which offers support to homeless young people.
As a long-standing and passionate campaigner for tax justice and transparency, she also makes her annual tax returns public.
You can see summaries of her tax return below for:
Any income from the sale of Caroline’s book 'Honourable Friends?' is included in her tax returns. The publisher's advance was paid directly to a researcher who worked on the book with me.
Caroline belongs to a number of all-party groups and is committed to the cross-party campaigning and working they promote.
She is also an officer of several of these groups, including Chair of the all-party parliamentary groups on Climate Change and Limits to Growth. Most all-party groups are run by secreteriats and these tend to get their money from membership fees paid by non-MP members, which might include businesses, non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, public bodies, trade associations and think tanks.
Caroline is active in encouraging the all-party groups in which she plays a leading role to adopt ethical membership criteria. The most recent list of members of the all-party group on climate change can be found here, and of the all-party group on limits to growth here.
Caroline sometimes employs part-time members of staff who work elsewhere too.
A number of volunteers have spent time in Caroline's office since she was elected – usually for a day a week over a short period of time, or a week- or fortnight-long work placement in the case of sixth-form students.
She has only been able to provide two internship as it's her policy that interns should be paid a living wage or more. Funding to make this possible has only been secured in two instances.
Register of Interests
In the interests of transparency, MPs are required to record their financial interests with the parliamentary authorities. You can find Caroline's entry on the register here. It includes details of funds she has received in support of her work and funds which she has helped to secure for the Green Party. All donors must be resident in the UK and registered on the electoral roll.
The register is updated regularly and the link also allows you to access historic copies of the register.
In 2019, Caroline launched Dear Leavers – a project designed to change the conversation about Brexit. Details of donations over £1,500 to this project are included on the register of interests and include £10,000 from Sigrid Rausing, £10,000 from Lisbet Rausing and £1,000 each from Ian McEwan, Livia and Colin Firth, and Betterworld Ltd.
Parliamentary Standards Commissioner
In 2020, Caroline was investigation by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner over a fundraising initiative for the Green Party in the run-up to the 2019 general election. You can read the outcome of the investigation here.