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MPs ask for expenses budgets to be raised to cover

Brexit costs
Former minister says requests for more money show MPs are ‘out of touch with

Isabel Bennett
Mon 20 Aug 2018 01.09 BST

MPs are asking for their expenses budgets to be increased to help them manage an increased
workload resulting from Brexit, the parliamentary watchdog has revealed.

A poll last year of MPs and their staff by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority
(Ipsa) said there had been demands from politicians and staff to give them more money to
cover their higher costs.

“There were further requests to further increase MP staffing budgets due to their increasing
workloads, some of which is the result of Brexit,” the report published last month said.

Responding to the revelation, Sir Kevin Barron, chairman of the committee on standards,
told the Telegraph: “It is essential that Ipsa achieves value for money as we are all funded by
taxpayers’ money.
“Requests for contingency funding should be judged individually on their merits but only
awarded where the need is clear.”

Some 93 people responded to the 2017 survey – a sharp decrease from 366 respondents in
the previous year. It is not known who or how many parliamentary staff made the request.

MPs are currently given a £150,900 annual staffing budget – increased to £161,550 in

The report also found that almost a quarter (24.1%) of respondents said they chose not to
disclose an expense because of concerns it would be published.

Ipsa was set up in the wake of the MPs expenses scandal almost 10 years ago in an effort to
increase transparency concerning pay and business costs.

The revelations of how much politicians were claiming sent shockwaves through
Westminster and beyond, with details emerging of frivolous and excessive spending
including a miniature island to house ducks in former Tory MP Peter Viggers’ duck pond.

MPs have seen a gradual increase in pay from £65,738 in 2010 to £77,379 this year.

Ipsa announced last year that it would no longer provide funding for new “connected
parties” - spouses and family members employed by MPs - after last year’s general election.

The committee on standards in public life welcomed the changes, saying: “Although many
provide an excellent service, it was considered that employment of family members was out
of step with modern employment practice and not consistent with proper use of public

Sir Alistair Graham, former chairman of the committee, told the Telegraph: “Ipsa should be
very cautious about raising budgets.

“It would be quite wrong to automatically agree an increase in the staff budget if there’s a
danger some of it goes to improve the family income rather than as a service to the public ...
All MPs’ positions should be subject to open competition.”