The extra cash injection will come on top of the £28,270 for London MPs and the £25,430 non-London MPs already receive a year to cover their office costs as the UK is gripped by the deadly coronavirus disease. MPs will be able to use the extra funding to buy equipment to work from home, including laptops and printers, and to subsidise the additional money they spend on electricity, heating and phone bills, while they work remotely.
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They will now be able to spend £5,000 in one single transaction as the credit limit on their payment cards is increased to £10,000.
Expenses regulator, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa), has also suspended the 90-day window for claims and relaxed rules on the evidence MPs must provide to back up their expenses claims.
Ipsa said: “This is an uncertain and challenging time.
MPs have been offered an extra £10k to help them work from home during coronavirus pandemic (Image: Getty)
Coronavirus UK: MPs will be given more money to work from home (Image: GETTY )
“Ipsa is committed to supporting MPs and their staff to carry on with their work as far as possible.”
MPs in London already recieve £28,270 and MPs out of London are granted £25,430 to cover their office costs, including rent, business rates, equipment and stationery, according to Ipsa.
Richard Lloyd, the interim chair of Ipsa, told MPs in a letter: “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.”
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Coronavirus UK: Britain is currently on lockdown (Image: GETTY )
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But the additional funding was hit by criticism as the coronavirus outbreak has seen some struggle to make ends meet as illness forces them out of work, or the virus means they’re not able to continue their daily job.
Alistair Graham, former chair of the committee on standards in public life, said: “It seems to me a very crude approach.
“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.”
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Coronavirus UK: The extra funding will help MPs pay for office equipment (Image: GETTY )
Coronavirus UK: (Image: GETTY)
But Labour MP Wes Streeting hit back and defended the costs on Twitter writing: “Just to reassure people: MPs aren’t being ‘given £10,000 extra each’
– There is a contingency budget for office equipment because not all of our *staff* working from home have their own IT equipment
– It is there if – and only if – it is *needed*
– It has to be accounted for
“While I’m here, a big shout-out to my own staff and the staff of other MPs who are dealing with unprecedented levels of casework and doing their very best to help people in awful circumstances. You are all very much appreciated.”
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While emergency measures such as mortgage holidays, Universal Credit changes and a package for furloughed workers have been announced, many will be left still concerned about their financial situation.
The outbreak is also expected to shed billions off the British economy as stock markets across the world continue their negative downturn because of the pandemic.
In the absence of the still hospitalised Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the British government will discuss on Thursday a scheduled review of the country’s lockdown measures.
Few expect any easing right now as coronavirus-linked deaths continue to rise.
After Mr Johnson spent a third night in intensive care, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will deputise for him by chairing a Cobra emergency committee to discuss the lockdown measures with leaders of the devolved nations.
No decision is expected to be made at that meeting in the Prime Minister’s absence, with key figures dealing with the response instead discussing whether to ease or strengthen the measures ahead of an announcement next week.
But there seems little chance of the lockdown being lifted with the PM remaining in intensive care and Wednesday having witnessed a rise of 938 in the number of deaths in UK hospitals of patients who tested positive for COVID-19, the highest new total so far.