Over 130 thousand people have signed a petition calling for the newly allocated £10,000 allowance for MP’s to be scrapped. MPs have been offered an additional £10,000 each by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) – the body that audits expenses of those in the Commons – to pay for increased costs as they and their staff move to working from home during the Covid-19 lockdown.
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 MP’s 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.
“The money, which comes on top of the existing office budget of about £26,000 a year per MP, will be available until next March. This petition is an opportunity for all of us to unite and to tell those in power that we’ve had enough of the gross inequalities that exist in this country.”
Speaker of the Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, said: “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.”
One signatory of the petition, Tanya Richards, who claimed to be a NHS worker, said MP’s should not need extra money to work from home.
I’m signing this as I’m an NHS worker who is now working bank holidays as a normal working day. I’m rotating on and off the hospital site, so at times am working from home. I do not require extra money to do this, what I do need though is equity for all workers. MP’s are handsomely renumerated in their roles and should not need extra monies to work from home! Just for once they should lead from the front and decline this. But of course they won’t!
Other signatories called it “morally wrong” and “outrageous while people are on reduced wages” .