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From The Socialist newspaper, 14 April 2020

MPs get 10k each for lockdown expenses - where's ours?

photo UK Parliament/CC

photo UK Parliament/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Lindsey Morgan, Leicester Socialist Party

MPs can claim up to 10,000 - on top of their salaries and other expenses - for remote working costs under lockdown. This is on top of the 26,000 a year MPs already get for office expenses!

The thing is, quite a few of us are having to deal with real extra costs right now. The difference is that we have no extra cash - in fact, a lot of us have had a 20% pay cut!

Apparently the idea that we're all in it together was missed by the 'Independent' Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) when it made the extra amount permissible last month. It's meant to cover expenses incurred by working more from home, such as equipment and heating, for MPs and their staff.

This follows Ipsa approving another inflation-busting 3.1% pay rise for MPs. That's 6.5 million pounds extra, presumably found down the back of a sofa. Meanwhile, NHS staff and other key workers have suffered real-terms pay cuts for years, and are dying due to a lack of PPE. It's obscene.

With MPs working from home, they must be saving money on commuting too. So why do they need an extra ten grand in the budget?

Parents with their children home from school are having to pay out more for stationery, heating, broadband and so on, so children can learn from home. So where is our extra money?

The coronavirus crisis is highlighting the huge chasm between the many and the few in society. Money can always be found for war, MPs' expenses, or failed outsourced IT projects - but not to pay for the PPE, tests and pay rises that NHS workers and many others desperately need.

Makeshift PPE

Some nurses are forced to use bin bags for makeshift PPE. NHS trusts in London were expected to run out of gowns in early April. The budget set aside for MPs to claim 10,000 each could fund eleven million surgical gowns, reckons Nurses United UK.

The basic annual salary of an MP will be 81,932 from this month. The gap between this and the average worker's wage will continue to widen. The Socialist Party demands that elected politicians receive an average worker's wage to help stem the disconnect between them and the people they claim to represent.

Expenses should only be allowable where clearly necessary to do the job, subject to the oversight of real representatives of working people in the trade unions. They should be published and accountable, particularly to the working people locally who have elected that representative.

And the government should guarantee all workers - key workers, other workers, self-employed, unemployed - 100% of their usual pay, plus whatever more is needed to cover lockdown costs and guarantee a real living income.

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
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In The Socialist 14 April 2020:


Coronavirus news

MPs get 10k each for lockdown expenses - where's ours?

Dispatches from the front: NHS staff say give us PPE, not medals!

Johnson's hospitalisation: a tale of two treatments

Big pharma's profiteering holds back drug supply

Lockdown increases domestic violence calls - Tory money a drop in the ocean

NHS nurse: we're not wasting PPE - the Tories don't value us

Rapacious capitalism and the spread of coronavirus


What we think

Exit strategy? PPE and mass testing and workers' control of workplace safety

Fight back against the corona propaganda war


Transport

London Transport workers fighting private companies and TfL to secure health and safety


Workplace news

Unite opposes all cuts to domestic violence services

Passport workers forced back to offices as Home Office shirks its duty of care

Collectively demanding safe warehouse working conditions

Usdaw shop workers' union activists meet via Zoom

Coronavirus workplace news in brief


Labour

Sabotage - the inner workings of Labour's political machine exposed


Campaigns

Plymouth students discuss rent strike

Final push for May Day greetings

Socialist Party coronavirus crisis finance appeal

Join an online Socialist Party meeting during lockdown

The Socialist Party and socialist ideas are growing


Lessons from history

How the catastrophe of WW1 sparked revolution


Readers' opinion

Going viral: Socialist comments on the corona crisis


 

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