POLL: Should MPs be given an additional £10,000 to cover working from home expenses? VOTE

Politicians have been working from home since Parliament was shut on March 26 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The additional money, available until March, can be used to buy laptops and printers for MPs and their staff, The Times reports. Lawmakers are already entitled to £26,000 every year to pay for the running of their office.

Last month emergency laws to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak were rushed through both Houses of Parliament.

MPs voted to plan for a managed return to work on April 21.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), the body which polices MPs’ expenses, recently scaled back the amount of evidence politicians must provide to make claims.

And the 90-day window to submit claims has been suspended.

Other changes included increasing the limit on MPs’ credit cards to £10,000.

Up to £5,000 can now be spent in a single transaction.

Ipsa said: “This is an uncertain and challenging time.

“Ipsa is committed to supporting MPs and their staff to carry on with their work as far as possible.”

In a letter to MPs, interim chairman of Ipsa, Richard Lloyd, said the changes were introduced to help them support their employees during the epidemic.

He wrote: “We have agreed a series of immediate measures that we hope will provide you with the resources and flexibility to concentrate on your parliamentary duties and support your staff at this time.

“There will be an immediate increase of £10,000 to your office costs budget.

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“This is to cover any additional costs you may incur to set up working remotely as a result of coronavirus.

“This extra budget will be available until March 2021.”

But Sir Alistair Graham, a former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, said the public will question why more thought and research had not gone into the introduction of such measures.

He said: “It seems to me a very crude approach [from Ipsa].

“I think the public may be slightly puzzled as to why what looks like a generous payment of this nature has been made without first doing a bit more research into what the actual costs are.”

Tory MP Julie Marson hit back at uproar on social media.

She said: “No MP will see an extra penny of this in their bank accounts.

“IPSA increased the office budget to provide staff who primarily work from the office the ability to work from home, and to produce and distribute COVID19 information.”

Ipsa was set up in the wake of the 2009 MP’s expenses scandal.

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