Open and honest
The MP expenses scandal was a shameful indication of where the real priorities of much of the political establishment lie.
Caroline believes in being as open as possible about her work as an MP and about her expenses.
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.
For details of Caroline's expenses, search for her name 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 one full-time member of staff. Short expenditure and income is independently audited.
From May 2015 all MPs received a pay increase equivalent to £6,940 per year. I opposed this by making a submission to the relevant consultation process but MPs had no say in the final decision.
Rather than accept the increased pay, I decided to donate it to local good causes and to do so via the pay roll giving scheme.
I donate to groups that I feel are doing excellent work in my constituency to tackle social inequality and promote sustainability. I’ve decided to make my first donation to Brighton Women’s Centre and to a project called Consent in the City, which is run by RISE and the Survivors Network.
As a long standing and passionate campaigner for tax justice and transparency, I’ve also decided to start making my annual tax returns public. You can see the full return for 2014 /15, submitted in my married name, here.
You can see summaries of my tax return below for:
I have not yet received income from the sale of my book Honourable Friends? The publisher's advance was paid directly to a researcher who work on the book for me.
Caroline is open about who lobbies her in Parliament and the constituency.
Details of the meetings she has held or attended since she was elected in May 2010 are listed below:
All Party Groups
Caroline belongs to a number of all party 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 Climate Change and of the Drugs Policy Reform all party groups. 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 association, think tanks and regulators. 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 Climate Change all party group, which pre-dates her taking the chair, can be found here.
Caroline sometimes employs part-time members of staff who work elsewhere too. At present she employs someone who edits the quarterly newsletter of Campaign Against Arms Trade on a freelance basis.
Previous part-time staff have worked on a freelance basis for various local citizens advice providers and for Woodnewton Associates at the same time as working for Caroline. She currently has a human rights adviser who supports her in a voluntary capacity and who is a barrister at Blackstone Chambers.
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 one 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 one instance.
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 secure for the Green Party.
The register is updated regularly and the link also allows you to access historic copies of the register. It shows, for example, that Caroline invested £50 as a community shareholder in Exeter Street Hall in Prestonville and has shares worth £400 in Brighton Community Energy Co-op.