I’m not a writer, but I like to moan.
Today my moaning is directed at IPSA, the regulatory body for MP’s pay in the UK. They have now announced that they’re allowing MPs to claim £10,000 to set themselves up for working from home. I’ll cite references where possible but make no guarantees to the accuracy of my content.
With the world being on Pandemic lockdown right now, the majority of the population have converted fine to working from home. Everyone has a table to sit at, their employers provide laptops in most cases to use for work, most people have an internet connection of some sort. It boggles me that anyone is “not set up” for working remotely.
Presumably, some of the things one may need to work remotely could be, a table to sit at, a laptop, a printer, electricity, heating (as stated in other articles) and some stationary. Most of these items many people would already have such as a company laptop but lets say you need to kit-out someone with everything they *need*, not want, need.
- Laptop plus software licenses, a generous £800 and should be provided by the employer, not the employee.
- A printer, basic inkjet models can be found for £20, but lets assume they need something a bit heavier duty but still suitable for home use and assume a £150 laser printer.
- Electricity, remember as HMRC rules on expenses state, you can only claim for any *extra* usage as a result of working from home, not the full amount. So let’s say you run the laptop 24 hours a day as an extreme example. According to the calculations here this would cost only around 15p per day. Add to that the costs of your laser printer which has a very low standby current, at a rough generous guess allow 10p per day. That’s less than £8 per month assuming you worked 7 days a week,
- Another point mentioned is heating. But remember HMRC states that only the *additional* costs as a result of home-working can be claimed. If your family is in lockdown as they’re supposed and in the home, chances are it’s already heated acceptably and so will not cost any extra. Plus, we’re well into the Spring season seeing warmer temperatures anyway so they don’t need heating at all. No claim justifiable for this.
- Stationary. Headed paper would/should be provided by the employer, so that’s free. Maybe you need a couple of note pads, box of pens, some plain paper and post-its. I think £20 a month should easily cover this.
- Furniture? Who hasn’t got a table and chair in their home already? No need for a new one certainly not at the tax-payers expense.
- Internet, for those living in the dark ages without internet, Vodafone offer a 76Meg fibre internet including line rental for just £23 a month. It includes a £70 Amazon voucher you can spend on your stationary too!
- Telephones. A mobile is no doubt already provided and used most often. But say you want a landline too. I’d assume this would be a VoIP phone to tie in with the Gov security systems so lets assume a generous £200 for a fancy handset and £15/month for an unlimited cal subscription. If they can’t do it for that price they’re doing something wrong.
- Transport expenses should be banned during the period because they’re supposed to be working from home and isolating, setting an example for the nation.
So all in all, assuming the highest amounts I have quoted here which are very generous, that adds up to £1236, that includes one-off costs as well so the monthly figure will be a lot less.
MPs need to be given the same expense allowances as everyday people like you and me. IPSA, as an ‘independent’ regulator who were setup to prevent abuse of the system, need to stop allowing and encouraging MPs to abuse the system.