UPDATE: Many MPs reject guidance on claiming the cost of Christmas parties

MPs Christmas parties on expenses whilst the country tightens its belts

Christmas party - Credit 4PM Production Shutterstock

12:02 (November 22) – MPs have taken to social media to criticise the guidance on claiming for staff Christmas parties.

Many MPS have rejected the guidance saying it is “inappropriate” and “wrong”.

Among the costs that MPs can claim are food and drink but not alcohol, Christmas decorations and the cost of printing and sending cards but added: “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.”

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) has since clarified the guidance saying that this was merely an update to existing guidance that allowed to claim the cost of Christmas parties and decorations. 

It said that the update was designed to ensure MPs stayed within the rules. 

But a number of MPs say they will not claim and the IPSA of placing them in an awkward situation by announcing the change at a time when they were under increased scrutiny given the current financial climate.

Labour’s Jess Phillips tweeted: “Just want to say no one asked for this, no one I know will use it.”

Her tweet has been retweeted 453 times including by other MPs across the political spectrum who all agree with her statement: “no one asked for this.”

8:28 (November 22) – MPs can now claim Christmas parties on their expenses following new guidance from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).

The advice issued on Tuesday, November 22 says that MPs can cover the cost of food and drink on their expenses for the first time, but that they cannot claim the cost of any alcohol.

The guidance, which came in response to a frequently asked question also said that the cost of festive decorations can also be claimed including for a tree, lights and tinsel.  The claims can be made for both parliamentary and constituency offices.

In a bizarre bit of advice the same IPSA also said MPs should be mindful of the cost of living crises and that claims: “should represent value for money, especially in the current economic climate.”

The Taxpayer’s Alliance told the Mail Online that MPS: “already get a plum deal without taxpayer-funded office jollies.”

Speaking on behalf of the organisation’s John O’Connell said: “While businesses and households in their constituencies pay for parties out of their own pockets, politicians get to dip into the public purse.

“MPs who want Christmas bashes should foot the bill themselves.”

The news that MPs Christmas parties can be claimed on expenses will not go down well with the country’s electorate who have all had to tighten their belts and scale down their Christmas festivities under the current government.

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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com.