I have recently recieved a high volume of correspondence on the Coronavirus contingency payment for MP's offices.
Recently, some poorly written, misinformed articles in a number of national newspapers suggested that MPs had received a hand-out of £10,000 for working from home during the Coronavirus crisis. I would share your views about how outrageous a Coronavirus £10k pay rise for MPs would be, but this is not that.
My staff and I are working from home to try and help as many constituents as possible, and as fast as possible. IPSA, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, decided unilaterally to make an additional £10,000 available to MPs over the next financial year to cover any possible increase in costs due to the Coronavirus epidemic.
That money is to be used for additional computer and other tech equipment to enable MPs and staff to work from home as we cannot work from Parliament or our constituency offices. It will also go some way to paying for additional staff to answer the increasing number of emails during this difficult period. Any purchases made will be reviewed by IPSA and published online in the normal way for public scrutiny.
- MPs were not consulted about this increase in the allowance and have found it almost impossible to discuss it with IPSA as they were the first to close their office, send all the staff home, and now not answer their phones.
- IPSA is entirely independent of MPs and have determined everything about Parliamentary costs, salaries, pensions, and so on since 2010. We have no power to overrule them.
- The comparison with pay for frontline staff is particularly disingenuous and understandably only serves to enrage people more than even this ill-informed story.
- I cannot make a fraudulent claim to parliament and then hand over the money to the NHS.
It is incredibly frustrating to have to deal with a huge influx of emails regarding a ‘£10,000 pay rise for MPs’ when not even the media articles in question make this assertion, and when I already have hundreds of emails from people who genuinely need support and assistance with incredibly important and sensitive issues.
From accessing essential supplies, constituents stranded abroad, businesses and individuals needing advice on the various Coronavirus state-support packages, to emergency housing and people losing their jobs. I also have a significant number of other sensitive cases ongoing since before this pandemic.
I hope this clarifies the matter in question.