You may have seen the recent press articles in relation to the £10k increase to MPs office cost budgets and I would like to take this opportunity of providing some context to this.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) who governs MPs pay and expenses took this decision to provide the additional £10K per year – MPs were not involved with this decision. As it was approaching the end of the financial year at the time of the recommendation to work from home was announced, this meant that some MPs did not have enough funds left in their budgets to provide staff with the necessary equipment to work remotely. This additional £10k to the budget is to last until the end of the financial year March 2021.
The awful and unprecedented situation we all find ourselves in with coronavirus has meant that MPs, including myself, have received hundreds of additional casework emails each day from desperate people. People who do not know where to turn for help if they are self-isolating, people who are stranded overseas, businesses who are worried about going bankrupt and self-employed people who suddenly find themselves with no income. These are examples of the influx of emails I have been receiving and people I have been trying to help. My office therefore needed to be able to have laptops to continue to do their work remotely and to deal with this unprecedented influx of emails from constituents needing help – and they have been working flat out to do this. We are in unprecedented times, it is a terrible situation that we are all in and it is a pity that the media are trying to promote outrage and ill-feeling when they should be promoting unity at this awful time. The influx of emails being sent from constituents complaining about this additional £10k is not helpful and could mean that serious emails from desperate constituents needing assistance at this difficult time may potentially get lost.
To this end, and for your information, as I did have enough funds remaining in last year’s budget, I did not need to access the additional £10k funds provided to enable my team to carry on with the amazing work they do.