You may have read recently that MPs are getting an extra £10,000 each to work from home, but many of these reports are wrong.
The independent body in charge of supporting MPs and staff – the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) – has decided to introduce a contingency budget for office equipment because not all those who now need to work from home due to the coronavirus outbreak have their own computers, printers and scanners.
You may like to know that I haven’t drawn on this money.
My small constituency office team are all working from home and I’m doing my advice surgeries by phone and using email, my website and social media to do all I can to help and keep you informed as your MP. Our casework has tripled in the last month, as many people struggle with this Coronavirus crisis.
MPs themselves are not getting extra money and it can only be used if it is needed. As is rightly the case with all allowances used by MPs, any MP making a claim from the budget will have to provide receipts, show it is justified and details will be published.
Since MPs do not receive any money, it cannot be donated. But as part of Labour’s shadow cabinet and as your local MP I’m working hard to get the protective equipment, testing and proper pay our frontline workers need and deserve.
Sir Lindsay Hoyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, has released a statement providing additional information on this.
“It is wrong to characterise this extra £10,000 allocated by 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. Many MPs have seen their casework soar as a direct result of coronavirus.
“Enabling staff to work remotely is the best and the safest way for them – and the constituents they are in contact with – to communicate and work together during these difficult times. 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.”