"MPs can claim the costs of food and refreshments for an office festive" in their parliamentary or constituency offices."
A number of MPs have criticised rules that would allow them to claim some expenses for Christmas parties for the first time, at a time when millions across the country are struggling with a cost of living crisis.
According to guidance from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), “MPs can claim the costs of food and refreshments for an office festive” in their parliamentary or constituency offices.
That means taxpayers will pay for the costs of the festivities, however alcohol cannot be included in the ‘hospitality claim’.
The move has already been criticised by a number of MPs, with Labour’s Jess Phillips tweeting in response: “Just want to say no one asked for this, no one I know will use it. The guidance wasn’t made by MPs and yet we will be pilloried for it. I think it’s really irresponsible to issue this guidance as if MPs have been clamouring for it when I’ve literally never heard anyone do that.”
She added: “I will throw a Christmas party for my staff, it will be in my home where I will cook and pay for all of the food and drink. Once again I reiterate that there was no clamour for this from MPs and it’s stupid.”
Sarah Owen MP also criticised the advice. “No one I know asked for this. No one I know would use it. It’s wrong,” she tweeted.
“MPs (some more than others) will always be targeted for abuse and violence, as part of the job. But idiotically irresponsible decisions like this make that more so, despite us having no control or say over it.”
Labour MP Chris Bryant, added: “I don’t know of a single MP who asked for this or intends to use it. It is totally inappropriate and I shall certainly not be taking it up.”
Elsewhere, the SNP’s Anum Qaisar tweeted: “This is completely tone-deaf – especially during a cost of living crisis.
“MP staff are the backbone of our offices and it’s my delight to treat my team at Christmas as a gesture of thanks for all their hard work.
“IPSA should reverse this decision.”
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward
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