MPs may have to ‘slum it’ in student-style halls

MPs may have to ‘slum it’ in student-style halls

11 January 2016

MPs have reacted angrily to a fresh expenses crackdown, which could mean that they would be housed in ‘special serviced accommodation’ whilst staying in London.

News of this proposal comes just weeks after the Chancellor announced that some contractors caught out by IR35 legislation will no longer be able to claim travel and subsistence expenses in the new tax year.

Under the current guidelines, MPs are allowed to claim up to £20,600 per year for renting a London property. They can also claim a maximum of £150 per night if they stay in a hotel.

At a recent meeting of the parliamentary expenses watchdog IPSA, members expressed concern that the funding of accommodation costs for MPs was still viewed questionably in the wake of the 2009 expenses scandal.

The minutes of the IPSA board meeting read: “This is particularly the case given that many MPs rent a property in London, retaining it throughout the year when Parliament only sits for circa 230 days of the year.”

Last year, taxpayers footed the £6.6 million bill that MPs based outside London racked up on hotels, rentals and other “associated costs”.

But the ‘serviced accommodation’ plan to reduce this cost has been dismissed by some MPs as impractical, unsafe and by one in particular as ‘completely unacceptable’.

One MP told the Mail on Sunday:  “What they really mean is forcing us to slum it in university-style blocks, which would be completely unacceptable. What are they going to do? Segregate us into different blocks according to party colours: Cameron’s lot in Tory Towers and Corbyn’s camp at Labour Lubyanka?”

Miles Grady of Umbrella.co.uk said: “This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this kind of hypocrisy from MPs and I am sure that it won’t be the last.

“I know of a lot of contractors who are wondering how they will keep their businesses going beyond April when the travel and subsistence relief runs out and I think it is shameful that some MPs are complaining about possibly having to downsize their comfortable London pads.

“These MPs obviously believe that their employers, in this case the taxpayers, should pay for their travel and accommodation, but for some reason this same rule is not applied to contractors.”