Splashing the cash on our MP’s.

jeremy hunt

We asked a few Waverley Borough Councillors whether they were expecting a cash bonus for working from home. You know for all those telephone calls, e-mails, video conferences and setting up support through all manner of means during the COVID-19 crisis.

The answer was an emphatic No! 

The Rt Hon ‘Entrepreneur’  Jeremy Hunt has now morphed into the RT Hon ‘Sanctimonious’  –  the longest Health Minister in history has been bashing the Government for not carrying out sufficient testing.

He knows, and we all know, that in 2015 when he was head honcho there was a ‘pandemic exercise’ carried out. This revealed that the NHS did not have sufficient ventilators or other equipment and would effectively ‘fall over’ in the face of thousands of people dying. Numerous whistleblowers were ignored, and then sacked and thrown on the scrapheap during his tenure, and many of the ills suffered in our NHS can be laid at his multi-million-pound property empire’s doors.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exercise_Cygnus

Now in addition to his £81,932 salary plus expenses – and probably more for taking on the role of select health committee chairman for Health and Social Care he and his colleagues have been offered by the Government £10,000 extra cash, for assistance to work from home. 

Neither he, or the Hon Angie the MP for Guildford & Villages, could even be bothered to rock up last week for ‘Your Waverley’s’ online conference held for leaders of Surrey County Council and the Waverley Towns – Godalming, Haslemere, Farnham and Cranleigh. Neither didn’t even have the courtesy to drop a line before or afterwards to say why not!

Are our councillors being offered an extra tuppence for working from home,  as sure as hell we bet they are not? In fact some, we believe, don’t even claim the normal expenses they are offered!

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Perhaps this dismal duo of MP’s who represent us should be donating their £10,000 to the tireless care home staff who are struggling with inadequate or no Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). No doubt that will be top of JH’s list when he holds his next Select Committee meeting for Health and Social Care? As for the Hon Angie, we understand from our correspondents she refers to the ‘Herculean’ efforts of others in Government but is doing s*d all herself – most residents, or councillors,  can’t even get a response to an e-mail! However, we understand former MP Anne Milton has risen to the challenge, as always, and is doing her bit for her old constituency.

Or perhaps ‘YW’s’ MP’s could go one better and follow the example of Waverley Councillors like John Robini and the town council in Haslemere, Paul Follows and the town council in Godalming, the stalwarts in Farnham, the Town Council and The Maltings.  Liz Townsend and the parish council in Cranleigh who together with well over 100 Street Champions all rallying the troops to keep vulnerable elderly people, and the disabled fed and watered, and with their medication safe in their own homes.

The contact details for Farnham are as follows:help@farnhammaltings.com

 

MPs can claim £10,000 to work from home

MPs are entitled to receive an additional £10,000 to their existing office budgets to assist them while they work from home. According to The Times, “The extra budget can be used to buy equipment such as laptops and printers for MPs and their staff, or to cover additional electricity, heating and phone bills.”

Concerns have been raised though that there is nothing in rules, set by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, to prevent members claiming it for themselves. £10,000 does seem very generous, given that a suite of computer/office equipment can be purchased for less than £1,800.

Our political director James Roberts gave his thoughts to The Times“While it’s reasonable for MPs’ staff to have access to the equipment they need to work from home during this crisis, politicians should take care to use the cash properly and avoid it being seen as a personal equipment slush fund.”

We’ll be monitoring how MPs use the extra cash in the coming months.

10 thoughts on “Splashing the cash on our MP’s.

  1. I don’t think for a moment that most MPs don’t already have the required equipment to work from home, as should we not expect that’s included in their the job description?
    If Waverley’s officers and staff are expected to have the ability to work from home in cases of emergency, surely that should also be expected from our national government?
    The sum of £10,000 is just obscene, if they need the kit, they should simply buy it and claim it back on their expenses.

    • That’s exactly what they will be doing, John. They aren’t getting £10K, they’re getting the right to claim back payments for equipment etc.for their staff. Usually the equipment will be supplied by the Parliamentary authorities at cost.

  2. I suppose I’m biased as a former MP (one of those not implicated in the expenses scandal), but I think this is reasonable as long as it’s properly monitored. Neither Jeremy Hunt nor any other MP will get a penny of this – it will be used to pay for equipment etc., and as MPs normally have 3-6 part-time staff to work on correspodence from the 70000ish constituents (I used to get over 100 letters and emails every day, and I’m sure it’s more now), it’s not a matter of buying one computer.

    I’m sure virtually every MP already has one (I think Ken Clarke was the last who didn’t), but the staff may not have one equipped to use the Parliamentary system. And an MP’s assistant who sits at home without a computer with access can do very little. Since they’re working for us and forced to work at home, it seems mean to deny them the equipment to do it.

    All Waverley councillors do have an iPad and most of us have our own computers anyway plus wifi contracts with unlimited email, so the only extra costs will be a bit more electricity and heating because we’re at home all day – but we would be anyway even if we weren’t councillors.

    I’ll be the first to criticise Hunt for policy mistakes. But I’ll give him and his colleagues a pass for letting their assistants have the equipment needed to work for us.

    Nick Palmer

    • Sorry – cannot believe the staff who work for MP’s don’t have their own equipment to work from home.

      • If they do, then they won’t get approval to buy another set of equipment (and wouldn’t want it, I suppose – who needs more clutter?).

        I still think that the press has given the impression that MPs have been given £10K and told they can go and spend it on IT stuff. That’s not how the system works. You buy stuff which you think you’ll need, and apply to get it reimbursed, explaining the need where necessary. For example, when I was on the European Affairs Select Committee, I applied for the cost of a sub to a Danish newspaper (because I read Danish and thought it might provide useful insights into Scandinavian attitudes). The officials asked if I was subscribing already, I said yes, and the request was refused, because I “evidently had already made arrangements for my personal interest”). I thought fair enough, shrugged, and moved on. Quite rightly, I had the sense that an understandable and rigorous policy was being followed.

  3. Likewise, if they haven’t the kit to work from home, when they are there for long stints during the year when in recess – then we have to wonder why not?

    Regardless of our day jobs elsewhere – town or city – at some time or another we are all expected to work from home, and gear ourselves up accordingly.

    To even suggest giving a £10,000 grant to our MP’s at this difficult time for so many of us, is exactly as you say – obscene!

    • Parliament doesn’t close during recess – assistants based there will go on going into work just as usual in non-Covid times, as that’s where all the files and reference materials are.

      But the point is that none of them are getting £10K. They’re being told the allowance is there if they can show it’s needed. If it’s not needed, it won’t be spent.

  4. Hi. So as much as I sympathise with Nicks point of view in this I find it unbelievable that in 2020 the team of an MP, any MP would be unequipped to work from home.

    But..let’s just suspend disbelief and say that they are totally unequipped. Even a team of 10 who all need a laptop and a monitor wouldn’t set you back even half of £10k.

    I would also add (as one of the many expected to work from home at my day job) – I had to go and buy a new monitor when this started as mine was broken. I expect half the population has had to buy some level of kit to do this. And more so if you intend on doing it comfortably.

    We all have the additional energy costs from that too and probably others costs too.

    As a consequence this is one of those areas where MPs separate themselves out from the population.

    But then I’m perhaps peeved because The MPs for Guildford and South West Surrey bailed on Friday covid call without so much a peep of a courtesy from them or their staff to tell us. Perhaps nobody has a phone a computer after all?

    Paul

  5. I agree that it is a bit of a stretch to pay MP’s an extra £10,000 to enable their staff to work from home but let us remember that they did not ask for this, it was awarded by the Committee set up to oversee their remuneration after the expenses scandal. Not every stick is there to beat the MP’s with.

  6. Then all we can say – at this critical time someone should learn a little humility, and should have thought about public perception. Ever heard the one – about the right thinking man on the Clapham ominibus? And now there is a petition against it up on line. Surprise, surprise!

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