UK (Sky News)

Coronavirus: 130,000 call for MPs to lose £10,000 work from home allowance

By June 5, 2020 No Comments

More than 130,000 people have signed a petition calling for MPs to be stripped of an additional £10,000 work from home allowance.

The one-off sum is designed to cover increased costs as MPs and their staff work from home during the coronavirus lockdown.

Critics claim the policy is in poor taste given millions of employees face being furloughed at 80% of their pay – with some losing their jobs altogether – due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle says it is incorrect to claim MPs are handing themselves extra cash during an emergency
Image:Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle says it is incorrect to claim MPs are handing themselves extra cash during an emergency

MPs can already claim £26,000 a year to cover their office costs.

Lucy Pearson, who started the petition, wrote: “While the rest of us lesser mortals struggle to pay bills, navigate HMRC and for many, learn they are not entitled to any support whatsoever during these dark times, already financially stable MPs are being given yet another perk.

“The extra budget can be used to buy equipment such as laptops and printers for MPs and their staff, or to cover additional electricity, heating and phone bills.”

She described the petition as “an opportunity for all of us to unite and tell those in power that we’ve had enough of the gross inequalities that exist in this country”.

Previously, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said: “It is wrong to characterise this extra £10,000 allocated by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) as MPs giving themselves additional funds.

“On the contrary, this money is being used to enable MPs’ staff to set up home working to support distressed constituents at a time of crisis.”

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Sir Lindsay added that many MPs have seen their casework soar as a direct result of COVID-19.

He stressed: “The additional budget is there to draw down on if it is needed and required – and it will have to be accounted for in the usual way.”

IPSA was set up in the aftermath of the expenses scandal.

Matt Hancock still
Hancock: ‘Stay home, however warm the weather’

The authority says the allowance is in response to the fact that many MPs and their staff members “were not set up for home working, nor for supporting constituents remotely”.

It added: “This additional funding is to help them make that transition, while they deal with a huge increase in workload from distressed constituents as a result of coronavirus issues.”

Sir Keir Starmer, the new Labour leader, has demanded “urgent talks” with the government to ensure MPs get the opportunity to challenge ministers over their handling of the coronavirus crisis.


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