Christmas party

Taxpayers to fund MPs Christmas parties for the first time

MPs have been allowed to claim the cost of their Christmas parties on parliamentary expenses for the very first time. 

Coming from new rules announced by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), MPs can now claim money spent on food, non-alcoholic drinks and decorations for festive events in the office. 

It is funded by the Treasury, which in theory means it raises most of the funds through taxes. 

MP for the Scottish National Party, Anum Qaisar, said: “This is completely tone-deaf, especially during a cost of living crisis.

“MP’s staff are the backbone of our offices and it’s my delight to treat my team at Christmas as a gesture of thanks for all their hard work.

“IPSA should reverse this decision.”

IPSA is the body responsible for paying MPs’ expenses, and recently reported that the costs of expenses for MPs rose to £138.6m last year. 

There is no limit to the Christmas party spending this year, although the budget for yearly office costs is £31,620 for London-based MPs, and £28,570 for those outside of London.

MPs can even claim the cost of Christmas cards, although they have been warned by IPSA.

IPSA said: “They should not be sent to large groups or all constituents as there is a risk this may not represent value for money and could be considered self-promotional.” 

Twitter comments have been flooded with rage in response to the new rules.

One viral tweet by user Howard Beckett compared the fact MPs can claim Christmas parties on expenses to the number of homeless children in the country.

Labour MP, Chris Bryant, said: “I don’t know of a single MP who asked for this or intends to use it.

“It is totally inappropriate and I shall certainly not be taking it up.”

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