“MPs are demanding more expenses as they complain that Brexit has added to their workload, it emerged today.
Politicians have been urging the parliamentary watchdog to increase allowances for staffing their offices, which can already be more than £160,000 a year.
The calls surfaced in a survey carried out by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa).
Under current rules, MPs can claim £150,900 a year for staffing costs, rising to £161,550 in London, although they can apply for an increase.
The figure has risen from £109,000 eight years ago.
Contingency funding is available on a ‘case by case’ basis where members have specific need for more support.
However, in its report on its annual feedback survey published this summer, Ipsa said some had said they still did not have enough money.
‘There were also requests to further increase MPs’ staffing budgets due to their increasing workloads, some of which is the result of Brexit,’ the report stated.
What expenses can MPs claim?
Renting accommodation in London: £22,760
Office costs for London MPs: £26,850
Office costs for non-London MPs: £24,150
Staff for London MPs: £161,550
Staff for non-London MPs: £150,900
Ipsa said that it had received 93 response to the survey – nine from MPs, 33 from MP proxies who manage their business costs, and 51 from other staff members working for MPs.
It did not say how many had raised the issue of staffing costs.
The watchdog has not ruled out granting the requests.
The body has made clear it will ‘take into account any relevant consequences of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union’ when considering updating the rules on MPs’ expenses.
Sir Alistair Graham, a former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, said Ipsa should be wary of acceding to demands for a rise.
He told The Daily Telegraph: ‘Brexit sounds like a rather convenient argument for increasing funding, Ipsa should be very cautious about raising budgets.’
MPs were barred from employing family members after the election last year – although those who were already on the payroll have been allowed to stay on.