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    • #5841

      Orange
      Participant

      In what must be a very trying time for the poor loves, MPs are getting an extra ten grand to cover all those extra costs working from home obviously entails (new PJs and the like I’d expect). Thank God the powers that be have their priorities straight, I shudder to think of frivolous crap the cash might have gone towards otherwise… adequate PPE for frontline staff springs to mind.

      Millions are now having to work from home but is anyone else out there being chucked a few grand extra to ease the pain?

      https://www.change.org/p/boris-johnson-a-rejection-of-the-mp-s-10000-corona-virus-working-from-home-allowance

    • #5842

      simon
      Participant

      Are they taking the f*cking piss?!

      I remember when Hancock was asked recently whether NHS staff should get a pay rise, “Now isn’t the time to be asking that.”
      The supermarkets managed to give their staff a pay rise no problem.

      Lost for words, really.

    • #5843

      Peter
      Participant

      You realise they don’t get given a blank cheque right??

      • #5844

        Orange
        Participant

        Of course! I’m sure their expenses will get scrutinised to the Nth degree, we’re all aware that our hard working MPs would never ever consider taking the piss with their expenses. I’m sure, for instance, that a brand new top of the range MacBook Pro purchased with the cash, could never end up accompanying an MPs little darling on their journey off to uni when lock down ends.

        The Very Thought!

    • #5845

      James
      Participant

      Not to burst any bubbles here… But isnt change.org simply a powerless phishing website set up to gather personal details to spam you and also tries to get you donate to them. Most people arent really aware of this and end up signing these petitions thinking they will help but they dont do anything.

      This is the official petition site that with enough signatures the government has to respond to.

      https://petition.parliament.uk/

      and the gov info

      https://www.gov.uk/petition-government

      change.org is just a company trying to make money.

      Its an easy mistake to make signing one of these fake change.org petitions… I did. Then researched the company behind it and realized that all change.org is doing is trying to grab money… sad really because lots of people are signing/creating these petitions on change.org thinking they aremaking a difference but in reality it just one big waste of time. Thats why im just sharing this so people know!

    • #5847

      Davedave
      Participant

      This story is pish.

      MPs offices can claim a maximum of £10k for expenses incurred for staff now working at home.

      The workload for staff has tripled since the crisis began. Each MP employs about five staff so that works out at £2k per staff member. It’ll probably never get claimed in full but does allow a young graduate, the normal kind of staffer, to buy a lap top and desk for their flat so they can keep helping their constituents.

      Would anyone prefer they were forced to go their office every day and put themselves at risk?

      • #5848

        Orange
        Participant

        This story is pish.

        MPs get 26K for office expenses anyway. They’ve just been given an extra 10K. Those are the facts.

        MPs offices can claim a maximum of £10k for expenses incurred for staff now working at home.

        10K on top of 26K… so that’s now a maximum of 36K.

        The workload for staff has tripled since the crisis began.

        Tripled? How’s that then? I can see how an ICU nurse could currently have 3 times the workload but with most parliamentary business suspended I’m struggling to see what MPs are up to?

        Each MP employs about five staff so that works out at £2k per staff member.

        According to parliamentary records that’s more like 3.5 full and part time.

        It’ll probably never get claimed in full but does allow a young graduate, the normal kind of staffer, to buy a lap top and desk for their flat so they can keep helping their constituents.

        You know any graduates who don’t already own a laptop?

        Would anyone prefer they were forced to go their office every day and put themselves at risk?

        Millions are working from home very effectively without thousands of quid being chucked at them. My own wife is one of them and her role is far more ‘key’ than my own in combating CV19. She’s currently on phone, laptop or conference calls 10 hours a day, coordinating with colleagues and customers internationally. She works at the dining room table and has had to spend £40 on an upgraded web cam.

        • #5849

          Davedave
          Participant

          They’re not “getting £10k chucked at them” it’s an increase in a budget. Most won’t claim anything like that.

          It’s not usual for anyone to have to use their personal laptop for their work and I would want any emails I send to my MP to be read on a secure lap top that’s been properly protected thanks very much. But anyway, the budget increase is there if additional equipment is required, no one is handing out blank cheques.

          My own employer has spent a fair bit to enable it’s employees to work from home. It had tripled it’s capacity for connection to its network by remote users from 5 to 15 thousand. It has provided necessary bits and pieces to allow people to work at home and has taken care to check we have everything we need. Should employers do any less?

          I’m not going to spend 15 minutes trolling through Facebook to itemise the kind of stuff that’s new. One thing I do recall is that my own MP has been inundated with enquiries as to why those regarded as at risk can’t get priority when trying to get supermarket deliveries. I live in Scotland btw, in England that isn’t an issue. No doubt clarification on what is and isn’t essential work as well.

          Even if they didn’t have an increase in work they’d still have loads to do. From memory immigration problems are a substantial part of an MPs inbox, Brexit issues as well IIRC. Why not check out your MP’S FB page and website they should have a breakdown of what people are contacting them about.

          If you don’t think any of what they do is important then fine, I suppose they could just shut their offices but if they did that someone would be touring a petition round the internet to get lazy MPs back to work.

          Or perhaps you would rather they came in to work and thus risked catching the virus,n infecting others and thus giving you more work?

          • #5851

            Orange
            Participant

            They’re not “getting £10k chucked at them” it’s an increase in a budget. Most won’t claim anything like that.

            It’s an unjustifiable increase in budget which will have very little oversight attached. To say “Most won’t claim anything like that.” is neither an argument nor a justification.

            It’s not usual for anyone to have to use their personal laptop for their work and I would want any emails I send to my MP to be read on a secure lap top that’s been properly protected thanks very much.

            Really? News to me. I have to use my own laptop to complete large amounts of mandatory training including sensitive information on subjects like response to terrorist incidents. I also receive emails with stuff like station door codes and access to controlled drug safes. Still, I’m sure MPs replying to constituents complaints about dog shit on the pavement and such like would necessitate MI5 levels of encryption… hang on though, that’s software isn’t it? Shouldn’t require dedicated secure hardware should it?

            But anyway, the budget increase is there if additional equipment is required, no one is handing out blank cheques.

            No, not a blank cheque. It’s a cheque for £10,000.

            My own employer has spent a fair bit to enable it’s employees to work from home. It had tripled it’s capacity for connection to its network by remote users from 5 to 15 thousand. It has provided necessary bits and pieces to allow people to work at home and has taken care to check we have everything we need. Should employers do any less?

            Yeah? Go on then, how much cash have you needed to facilitate you working from home? I know plenty of people currently home working, don’t know of any needing hundred of quids worth of kit though, let alone thousands.

            I’m not going to spend 15 minutes trolling through Facebook to itemise the kind of stuff that’s new. One thing I do recall is that my own MP has been inundated with enquiries as to why those regarded as at risk can’t get priority when trying to get supermarket deliveries. I live in Scotland btw, in England that isn’t an issue. No doubt clarification on what is and isn’t essential work as well.

            In other words; no, you can’t justify the premise that MP workloads have tripled.

            Even if they didn’t have an increase in work they’d still have loads to do. From memory immigration problems are a substantial part of an MPs inbox, Brexit issues as well IIRC. Why not check out your MP’S FB page and website they should have a breakdown of what people are contacting them about.

            The issue isn’t that they have stuff to do. The issue is that they don’t need an extra 10K to enable them to do it.

            If you don’t think any of what they do is important then fine, I suppose they could just shut their offices but if they did that someone would be touring a petition round the internet to get lazy MPs back to work.

            Again, not the issue. The extra 10K is the issue.

            Or perhaps you would rather they came in to work and thus risked catching the virus,n infecting others and thus giving you more work?

            I’d rather they worked with the kit they’ve got and spent all the millions earmarked for themselves on stuff like adequate PPE to protect the lives of the frontline workers who actually are at high risk from CV19.

      • #5854

        Robert
        Participant

        Would anyone prefer they were forced to go their office every day and put themselves at risk?

        It would make me feel better if they did. I’m betting that MPs would have resolved the PPE issue within hours let alone months if their lives depended on it.

        Just about every key worker is a tad frustrated, to say the very least, at feeling like Covid Canon fodder at the handling of this pandemic.

        • #5855

          Orange
          Participant

          Just about every key worker is a tad frustrated, to say the very least, at feeling like Covid Canon fodder at the handling of this pandemic.

          Absolutely where I’m coming from. MPs get 10K for kit they don’t really need. Meanwhile, at the pointy end, NHS staff are attending CV19 patients wearing a non protective surgical mask and a plastic pinny, instead of an FFP3 and a tyvek suit.

          A young paramedic at my station was recently sent in to assess a confirmed CV19 patient wearing just such minimal kit. She spent 40 minutes with the patient in the family’s front room, during which time she discovered that the other 3 members of the household were also confirmed CV19. She was well aware that every surface in that room was likely contaminated, well informed on such matters as viral load and the minimal protection afforded by her surgical mask. She came out and doused every exposed inch of flesh with alcohol gel, rubbed her uniform with disinfectant wipes and spent the remaining 6 hours of her shift with skin crawling and internally cringing every time she entered another patient’s home, well aware it was highly likely she wasn’t just carrying a defib and a BLS bag across the threshold. It’s OK though, she was following PHE PPE guidelines to the letter.

          That 10K “needed” by our hardworking MPs is enough to buy 3000 FFP3 respirators.

          • #5856

            scats
            Participant

            That 10K “needed” by our hardworking MPs is enough to buy 3000 FFP3 respirators.

            Are you suggesting that the £10000 payment to MP’s will mean that there will be less PPE available to the NHS?

            • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by scats.
          • #5858

            Orange
            Participant

            Are you suggesting that the £10000 payment to MP’s will mean that there will be less PPE available to the NHS?

            No. I’m suggesting that awarding themselves an extra 10k worth of funding for kit they don’t really need for the stated purpose of keeping them working safely from home, feels like a massive kick in the dick to many NHS workers who’re being told their own safety doesn’t warrant a 3 quid disposable respirator.

            After all, we’re all in this together. Apparently.

          • #5859

            matt123
            Participant

            No. I’m suggesting that awarding themselves an extra 10k worth of funding for kit they don’t really need for the stated purpose of keeping them working safely from home, feels like a massive kick in the dick to many NHS workers who’re being told their own safety doesn’t warrant a 3 quid disposable respirator.

            I’m sure it does but I think that’s down to the reporting. Someone has obviously plucked a figure out of the air for the budget but until any of it is claimed nobody has been given any money.

            If any MP was daft enough to put a claim in for stuff they or their staff don’t need, then there’d be a story, a rejected claim and a possible prosecution.

    • #5850

      toerag
      Participant

      I don’t see anyone buying laptops for teachers to work at home. I like everyone else I work with have used my own.

      I believe a colleague who doesn’t have her own managed to borrow one from school before the lockdown.

      I’m sure the situation will be the same for the rest of the workers in the public sector. Either take one from the office or use your own.

    • #5852

      eeek
      Participant

      What would be a reasonable expense to relocate an office with 4 or 5 employees to your own house?

      • #5853

        Robert
        Participant

        I hope they are not doing that. However, you are right it is the full office, not just the MP. I’m not sure what the additional costs would be though.

    • #5860

      eeek
      Participant

      From Tim Loughton MP

      Yesterday some badly misinformed articles in a couple of national newspapers suggested that MPs had received a hand-out of £10,000 to work from home during the Coronavirus crisis. Clearly it was a disingenuous attempt by journalists to whip up a variation on their pandemic coverage with no regard to the completely misleading impression it would create.
      To make matters worse the administrator of a Worthing Facebook page posted a link to these articles with the title ‘MPs give themselves a pay rise of £10,000’ and urged followers to write to me on the ‘pay increase.’ Only after he had done that did he contact me directly for ‘clarification.’ Not surprisingly many people have written to me, as if I did not have enough emails to deal with at the moment on real issues that my constituents are dealing with! This is my (toned down) response to this gentleman which I hope makes the situation clear.

      Dear Mr xxx – you have no idea how angry this makes me. Before you even wrote to me to ‘clarify’ you apparently posted on social media that MPs had given themselves ‘a pay rise of £10,000.’ Even the story in The Times which is full of errors does not make this claim. So why have you chosen to make trouble in this way?
      As a result, I am now ploughing through a whole load of emails from angry constituents having seen your completely disingenuous comments.
      To add insult to injury you claim that this ‘payment’ is so we can work from the safety of (our) home.’ For most of the last couple of weeks the ‘safety of my own home’ has amounted to lugging provisions from Sainsbury’s to Worthing Hospital and then standing in a freezing car park each evening to provide much needed foodstuffs to exhausted nurses coming off shift. It has been a privilege to do it.
      Today the ‘safety of my own home’ has meant being out since 7.30 delivering over 350 Easter eggs across the constituency to nurses, midwives, ambulance crew, GPs, refuse collectors etc. In between I have been delivering PPE to care homes and charities and supplies to vulnerable constituents. In between all that I have held 4 conference calls and I have just returned home to start on only 300 emails – the lowest number this week. My staff are all working from home and all of us will again be working through the weekend dealing with queries from constituents who cannot get any essential supplies; constituents stranded abroad; employers and employees needing advice on the various business support packages and a whole lot in-between and now thanks to you I will be up to late dealing with this rubbish! I hope you are pleased with yourself.
      The facts are, not that you are interested in them or you would have had the courtesy to check with me first:
      IPSA in its wisdom decided unilaterally to make an additional £10,000 available to MPs over the next financial year to cover any possible increase in costs because of the Corona epidemic. That money can be primarily used for additional computer and other tech equipment/secure Wi-Fi etc to enable staff to work from home as we cannot work from Parliament. In some cases, MPs may also need to employ additional staff as I have heard cases of some colleagues now being deluged with over 1000 emails a day. Those costs will in most cases be covered by direct charge to the credit cards issued to MPs for office running costs and travel.
      • Not a penny of it will go to the MP himself or herself
      • MPs were not consulted about this increase in the allowance and have found it almost impossible to discuss it with IPSA as they were the first to close their office, send all the staff home and now do not answer their phones.
      • IPSA is entirely independent of MPs and have determined everything about Parliamentary costs, salary, pensions etc since 2010. We have no power to overrule them. That is apparently what the public wanted after the ‘expenses’ scandal’ even though the cost of running IPSA is considerably higher than the previous system.
      • It is highly unlikely that I will need to access this £10,000 for my office as I am nowhere near spending this year’s allowance in full, as usual. I already have an office set up at home so that I can continue to work on constituency correspondence and other parliamentary work over weekends when not at Westminster. My office staff volunteered to drive into Parliament so they could transport their desktop computers and other essential kit back home during the lockdown period. I have offered to pay their petrol ‘expenses’ personally.
      • The comparison with pay for frontline staff is particularly disingenuous and understandably only serves to enrage people more than even this ill-informed story. As it happens I have been on the record supporting a pay increase for NHS staff.
      Now please tell me on what planet you justify this as a ‘pay rise.’
      If you cannot I would request that you revisit your posts on social media, take down the lies and set out the facts. I am sure you will want to offer a public apology too.

      Not impressed

      Tim Loughton
      Member of Parliament for East Worthing & Shoreham

      • #5861

        Orange
        Participant

        Mr Loughton seems to be complaining that the 10K extra that MP’s have been allocated has been characterised as a pay rise. I’ve not done so. I’ve characterised it as an ill judged and unnecessary use of public funds. I hope Mr Loughton doesn’t dislocate a shoulder while patting himself on the back so vigorously for venturing from the safety of his own home to hand out Easter eggs to NHS workers.

        Perhaps Mr Loughton would do well to talk to some of those workers. They aren’t terrified of a shortage of Easter eggs, they’re terrified of a lack of PPE.

      • #5862

        Ian
        Participant

        “As it happens I have been on the record supporting a pay increase for NHS staff.”

        I guess we all remember the tories cheering in 2017 after they defeated an amendment in the commons intended to lift the 1% cap on pay rises for public sector staff. (To be clear – 1%, being below the rate of inflation, is a pay cut in real terms – ongoing, year after year since 2010.)

        The irony wasn’t lost on us at the time that Theresa May’s government was able to defeat this amendment only with the support of the DUP after bunging them a billion quid.

        Can you guess how Tim “I’m owed an apology for this” Loughton voted on that?

        https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/full-list-mps-who-voted-against-giving-nurses-firefighters-fair-pay-rise-1628286

        • #5863

          Orange
          Participant

          I guess we all remember the tories cheering in 2017 after they defeated an amendment in the commons intended to lift the 1% cap on pay rises for public sector staff. (To be clear – 1%, being below the rate of inflation, is a pay cut in real terms – ongoing, year after year since 2010.)

          Now, now. We know there’s no magic money tree, (it’s an oft repeated mantra amongst Mr Loughton’s fellow party members) well not for the plebs anyway. But it’s branches are always available for a vigorous shake by our sharp elbowed betters. This new allocation would mean an MP would be totally within his rights to kit himself out with a new phone, laptop, iPad and desktop…no questions asked. While NHS staff are having to source and buy their own respirators.

          Lots of posters on here seem very willing to defend this without quite being able to find an argument that’s actually defending it. There seem to be a few points repeatedly being forwarded as, at best, mitigating factors; I’ll try to address them all here.

          1. “It’s not the MPs who’ve asked for this money”- Sure, someone just randomly came up with the idea and anyway, it’s not as though MPs have any input into the inner workings of government…err well, err?

          2. “MPs wouldn’t use the money anyway”- quite right, MPs have long been known for their remarkable fiscal restraint when claiming expenses, after all, no one likes free money.

          3. “They’d never get away with claiming for stuff they didn’t need”- Yeah, sure. How on Earth would an MP be able to get away with spaffing a few grand on a laptop they didn’t actually need. Just say the old one broke or something….

          4. “MPs wouldn’t abuse their expenses. They just wouldn’t!”- Hmm…any of you lot in the market for some magic beans I’ve happened to have got my hands on?

          • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Orange.
    • #5865

      Itstinks
      Participant

      Surely it’s about the message sent by our leaders to the people of the country they preside over. I get that expenses for their staff have to paid for and the increase in workloads also have to paid for. However, the message is that everyone has to make huge sacrifices (Michael Gove), companies going bust due to lack of payments, staff being unpaid whilst the system catches up, restrictions and blame on NHS workers for overusing PPE etc etc. This message doesn’t resonate with the people in power who we have all had to look to for guidance during this time. Flouting their own rules and ensuring that their own employees are sorted before others shows us that whilst they call people key workers they still put politicians and business leaders above everyone else. Without politicians the country would seriously grind to halt but without key workers it would stop dead and hundreds of thousands would die. The message is always important and things like this only allows people to generate division and hatred towards people who are seen as lining their own pockets. It also detracts from the number of unknown MP’s (not the few that love to be on TV or radio) who work very hard with excellent dillengence for their constituients.It also allows people to have excuses about not following the rules because if their not doing it why should I.

      It s all about the message it sends, again another bad choice handled badly

    • #5866

      jeff
      Participant

      In a perfect world, costs should be met.

      But I, along with thousands of other people in this country are working from home, completely changing the way we work, for companies and charities that may not see the end of this.

      Yes I could have kicked up a fuss with my employer and demanded a computer, reasonable webcam and desk to work from home (not sure what response I would have got). My partner, a teacher could have done the same.

      However, seeing this approaching we planned in advance and at the end of Feb, beginning of March we made some preparations such as buying a better webcam, and at no point did I even consider asking my employer to contribute, again my partner has worked from home in the evenings and weekends since she started teaching, always using her own equipment, her employer recently stopped remote access due to security concerns and staff were issued with an encrypted flash drive, working at home on their own equipment is the expected approach.

      As I said, in perfect world, yes, employers should cover the costs, but we don’t live in a perfect world, especially at the moment. Not necessarily the most helpful to see MPs being given that perfect world examples when others are struggling so much.

      Yes MPs have offices to run and very important work to undertake, and most are committed to the communities they represent and need the resources to work effectively.

      But nothing about this current situation is fair (nobody’s fault, just the way it is) and it wouldn’t hurt for MPs to recognise that and instead of going on the defensive when it is brought up, they maybe should acknowledge this disparity and pledge to do something about it after all this has finished.

      At the moment everyone is doing more than asked of them from MPs handing out food to nurses to people working from home buying their own equipment to protect their employers from increased costs.

      • #5867

        Yorkshirelad
        Participant

        Good post.

        If the £10,000 was reported locally to the MP as an increase in pay then that is wrong but in addition to being able to claim up to the £10,000 the monthly credit limit on MPs’ payment card has been increased to £10,000 and the single transaction limit has been increased to £5,000, and the requirements on producing evidence of money spent are being relaxed.

        As you say some folks working from home are using their own equipment. I wonder how many people working for an MP do not have their own PC/laptop/tablet and access to the internet.

      • #5868

        Gaz
        Participant

        However, seeing this approaching we planned in advance and at the end of Feb, beginning of March we made some preparations such as buying a better webcam, and at no point did I even consider asking my employer to contribute, again my partner has worked from home in the evenings and weekends since she started teaching, always using her own equipment, her employer recently stopped remote access due to security concerns and staff were issued with an encrypted flash drive, working at home on their own equipment is the expected approach.

        Same here, but not everyone was that well prepared. The worst prepared at work were actually quoting Boris when we were trying to get them prepared and they were reluctant. I suspect the lack of clarity from the government early one has cost us more than this issue ever will.

        We have expected people to use there own kit as I am, but we have not expected younger staff on lesser wages to dig into their own pockets to buy equipment to work from home. Many of them do just have a phone or tablet.

    • #5985

      Bill
      Participant

      It’s quite clear that MPs have simply been given an extra credit facility to cover the costs of their offices moving into people’s homes for an unknown duration.

      Let’s say they’d set that limit at £1,000. Now MPs and their staff have a choice about how they spend their time. They could be searching around to get the cheapest possible items they need, or they could be helping constituents with issues around their evictions, universal credit, failing businesses or immigration. They may even need that money and attention for scrutinising the government. And of the office money runs out and for some reason those functions are done less well, I hardly see that as a win.

      Of course some Tory MPs will employ well heeled young staff with all their own kit, but would I want my personal details on Persephone’s MacBook? Maybe, maybe not. But perhaps plenty of Labour MPs employ staff who are not minted and might need extra IT. Or maybe they employ someone disabled who needs certain equipment at home, or perhaps needs their specialist chair delivered from office to home.

      in short, the money could – and should – be used for progressive ends. And as I understand it they will eventually have to publish what they spent the money on, which should keep them straight. Remember that the rules have changed since the duck house days.

      It is perfectly possible to think all the above and still find the government utterly inept and incapable. Nurses are not lacking PPE for want of £6.5m (less than 0.005% of the NHS’s budget) but because the government totally and unforgivably messed up organising its purchase and distribution. I would like MPs to hold the government to account and to help their constituents, and for some MPs some – or less likely all – of this £10,000 will help do that.

      • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by Bill.
    • #5987

      trump
      Participant

      I mean we can all find something we like money spent on vs something we don’t like it spent on, and make comparisons. But it avoids the real questions. Which are:

      do we want our MPs to carry on providing a service to their constituents? Do we want MPs to be able to continue scrutinising government?

      if so, how much are we willing so spend on this? (Please provide a sum instead of outrage.)

      and when I make my judgement, do I do so with the facts to hand? Do you know what running an MPs office involves? Again, what’s the price you’re willing to pay for this service?

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