SENT to my MP, Chloe Smith, Norwich North
CC'd to local press Eastern Daily Press, Eastern Eveing News
Dear Ms Smith,
I have read that the Government has decided to give an extra £10,000 to all MP's to help them work from home.
I am writing to ask that you give this money to help the NHS staff and other care workers at this dreadful time; they need it, they deserve it and I think it could be used to benefit and maybe even keep alive many people.
REPLY received Aprill 15th
Thank you for taking the time to get in touch with me about office expenses for MPs during the COVID-19 outbreak.
I want to be clear that the additional money is not a pay rise and was allocated by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, not by MPs or the Government.
"MPs' expenses" cover MPs' office work as well as reasonable personal expenses. You can read all the rules here as well as on the surrounding website: https://www.theipsa.org.uk/publications/scheme-of-mps-business-costs-expenses/.
IPSA explained publicly that this £10,000 allowance, if claimed, has to be rigorously accounted for and is only to be used to help MPs and their staff carry out their duties by working from home.
I'd like to mention that MPs' staff help their MP deal with a lot of urgent constituency cases. MPs can be a vitally important route for recourse for many people who do not know where else to turn. As you can imagine, in the last few weeks, thousands of people have asked for various help and information. My staff have helped me do all this, and moved to work from home at very short notice, where as a responsible employer I have had to make sure they are properly equipped just like any other employee in the land. That's what this allowance is for.
I can assure you in general that as your MP I believe very strongly in spending taxpayers’ money wisely or not at all.
With best wishes,
Member of Parliament for Norwich North