There has been a lot of misleading and false information about MPs expenses circulating online recently. Which I am happy to set straight… MP’s have NOT given themselves £10,000 to work from home, it is NOT a pay rise.
What has actually happened, was on 19th March, IPSA- a completely independent body which regulates MPs' pay and expenses announced that existing office costs budget will increase by £10,000 over the next financial year: 'to cover any additional costs you may incur to set up working remotely as a result of coronavirus'. MPs were not consulted about this increase in their allowance before the decision was announced by IPSA.
This extra budget can be used to buy additional equipment such as laptops and printers for staff having to work from home. It is not compulsory for the MPs to spend the £10,000, and NO MP will see a single penny of this money in their own personal bank accounts.
MPs did not have anything to do with this £10,000 budget increase. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) was created with the explicit role of dealing with Members' pay, conditions and expenses. This was with the intent to restore the reputation of Parliament after the 2009 expenses scandal. MP’s cannot vote on their pay, and MP’s do not set their expenses' budgets.
Finally, it is very unlikely that I will need to access this extra £10,000 for my office. I have never needed to go over the current office budget. I also already have been working from home, answering emails and speaking to constituents over the phone.
Personally, I do not claim any permittable expenses such as help with housing costs, travel expenses or late-night subsistence and taxis for when the House of Commons sits late into the night. The only costs I claimed in the last session were my office admin costs, staff salaries and the travel & subsistence costs for local youngsters on work experience. I try to offer work experience in my Westminster Office to as many young people from Castle Point as I can, and I know that several of them have since gone on to get good jobs. I consider it only fair to reimburse these youngsters for their rail fare to London and a modest lunch.
For my information about MPs expenses please visit: https://www.theipsa.org.uk/