ANNEX D (amended March 2014)

IPA/IPO Expenditure Guidelines:

1. The following table provides guidance as to what may be considered an appropriate amount in order to meet the reasonable domestic needs of a bankrupt and their family.  The income payments calculator has been updated to reflect these guidelines for 9 different household scenarios.  If the case you are dealing with does not fit in with those scenarios, the information below should be used to calculate an estimate of reasonable expenditure.

2. These guidelines are not prescriptive; in each case assessment a decision should be made as to whether the expenditure is realistic, relevant and appropriate to the bankrupt’s circumstances and whether the amounts included are sufficient to provide for the reasonable domestic needs of the bankrupt and his/her family.

3. See the Technical Manual Chapter 31.7, Part 4 for detailed guidance on expenditure to be considered when calculating an IPA/IPO, particularly paragraph 31.7.80 regarding the Living Costs and Food Survey (formerly Family Expenditure Survey - FES) and paragraph 31.7.81 regarding the consideration of what is reasonable.

4. Sources of information:

  • The Living Costs and Food Survey (formerly FES) as updated by the Office of National Statistics for family expenditure 2011/12 – items marked (i) See household expenditure survey 
  • Focus groups results based upon experience of LTADT (formerly RTLU) staff – items marked (ii)
  • The Technical Manual Chapter 31.7, Part 4 last fully updated December 2010 (further updates made at  April 2012) – items marked (iii)   







Single Person




Extra per dependant adult (inc children over 16)


Extra per child under 16

Mortgage or rent (i)(iii)

Variable  (see paragraph 31.7.82-31.7.92)

Council tax (i)

Variable – Average for England £90-£130 per month

Gas, electricity, other heating (i)

See household expenditure table

Water (i)

As above

Telephone (landline only) (i)

As above

Food toiletries & cleaning (i)

As above

Travel – private (i)

As above

Travel – public (i)

As above

Clothing & footwear (i)

As above

Maintenance payments (i)

Formal arrangements – calculated from net income x 15% for one child, 20% for two children, 25% for three plus children

Fines (i)

Court imposed fines only

Other possible outgoings to be considered

TV licence(iii)

£145.50 per year or £12 per month (see paragraph 31.7.110)

Insurance policies (except motor) (iii)

Variable - In normal circumstances payments for a standard building and contents insurance policy should be allowed (see paragraph 31.7.117)

Dry cleaning (iii)

Claims for essential laundry & replacement to be included (see paragraph 31.7.116)

School meals

Variable – check for exemptions

Afterschool clubs/trips (iii)

Variable - Allowable if to cover whilst parents are working.  Consider number and amount of claims (see paragraph 31.7.94)

Childcare (iii)

Variable – Allowable if to cover while parents are working (see paragraph 31.7.95)

Dentist (iii)

Variable – Allowable to cover essential payments in supplement to NHS treatment (see paragraph  31.7.122)

Prescriptions (iii)

Cost £8.05 per item.  Pre pay certificate £29.10 for 3 months £104 per year (see paragraph 31.7.121)

Opticians (iii)

Variable – Allowable to cover eye tests and reasonable glasses costs (see paragraph  31.7.122)

Vet bills (ii)(iii)

Allowable where covers a reasonable domestic need – proof of expenditure required (see paragraph 31.7.116)

Pet food (ii)(iii)

Allowable where covers reasonable domestic need – proof of expenditure required (see paragraph 31.7.116)

Professional body membership (iii)

Variable, unless paid for by employer (see paragraph  31.7.107)

Holidays (ii) (iii)

Allowable where meets a reasonable domestic need (see paragraph 31.7.116)





Hairdressing & personal care (ii)(iii)

Allowable to meet reasonable domestic need (see paragraph 31.7.116)





Mobile phone (iii)

Variable – Allowable if seems reasonable when considered with landline costs above (see paragraph  31.7.92)

Broadband costs (iii)

Variable – Allowable where meets a reasonable domestic need (see paragraph  31.7.93)

Sports, entertainment, hobbies (ii)(iii)

Only allowable if considered to be meeting a genuine need or healthcare requirement (see paragraph 31.7.113 and 31.7.114)





Standard emergency allowance (ii)(iii)


Allowable £10 per month for bankrupt and each dependant (see paragraph 31.7.116)