Coronavirus: MPs offered extra £10,000 for staff pay and expenses during COVID-19 lockdown

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
MPs are able to claim an extra £10,000 in expenses while working from home after parliament was shut due to the spread of COVID-19. (PA)

MPs are able to claim an extra £10,000 in expenses while working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Parliament has been suspended until 21 April at the earliest, with Boris Johnson and health secretary Matt Hancock both contracting COVID-19 in recent weeks.

While MPs continue to work from home, the extra money offered can be used for expenses such as laptops and equipment, staff salaries and electricity, heating and phone bills.

Ministers have also had their credit card limits increased to £10,000 “to help with cash flow”.

Parliament has been suspended until April 21 at the earliest. (PA)

Read more: Coronavirus lockdown measures won't be toughened, government assures

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) said ministers’ cards will not be suspended if they are unable to make minimum repayments on time.

Funds have been made available for each MP in addition to the office budget of up to £26,050 per year.

Latest coronavirus news, updates and advice

Live: Follow all the latest updates from the UK and around the world
Fact-checker: The number of COVID-19 cases in your local area
6 charts and maps that explain how COVID-19 is spreading

The IPSA update, issued to MPs in March, said: “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 at this time.


“There will be an immediate increase of £10,000 to your office costs budget.

“This is to cover any additional costs you may incur to set up working remotely as a result of coronavirus. This extra budget will be available until March 2021.”

Read more: Coronavirus cases reach 1.5 million globally

In a letter to MPs, Richard Lloyd, the interim chairman of the authority, wrote: “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.”

Screen grab of Health Secretary Matt Hancock introducing the Coronavirus Bill in the House of Commons for its second reading .

But a former chairman of the committee on standards in public life has criticised the decision.

Sir Alastair Graham told the Times: “It seems to me a very crude approach.

Read more: Government to review lockdown as MPs plead with Britons to stay home during Easter

“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.”

Meanwhile, a cross-party group of peers in the House of Lords said a “virtual parliament” must be swiftly established so the government can be scrutinised during the coronavirus outbreak.

They called on Lords leader Baroness Evans to prioritise allowing oral questions and statements to be made using video-conferencing technology.

And in the Commons, house speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle has asked the government to allow MPs to be able to work “virtually” if the crisis continues after the date they are due to return to the house.

Coronavirus: what happened today

Click here to sign up to the latest news, advice and information with our daily Catch-up newsletter

Watch the latest videos from Yahoo News