David Davis on ‘bonkers’ Christmas party expenses
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New guidance by the Parliamentary expenses body has revealed that MPs can use taxpayers’ money to fund Christmas parties for them and their staff. The decision branded as “bonkers” and “irresponsible”, includes bills for food, non-alcoholic drinks and festive decorations. David Davis slammed the move as inappropriate in the middle of the cost-of-living crisis.
David Davis acknowledged he had not read the story and admitted being “quite surprised”.
He told Talk TV: “But I think it’s bonkers, frankly. It has missed the mood of the age if that’s what they say.
“There are lots of things we have to spend taxpayers’ money on in terms of providing offices, services and so on.”
The former Brexit Secretary said: “It seems to me to be a bit of a strange pick, particularly this year of all years.
“We do have parties but most of us – I thought all of us – make one of our own pocket.”
The new guidance was issued by Ipsa in response to frequently asked questions about how MPs and their staff can celebrate during the holiday season.
The watchdog confirmed that “MPs can claim the costs of food and refreshments for an office festive” in their offices – but warned “no claims are allowed for alcohol”.
MPs were told that any claims “should represent value for money, especially in the current economic climate”, as millions feel the strain of a cost-of-living crisis.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said Rishi Sunak would not make any such claim, and suggested MPs should consider the voters’ reactions before claiming the money.
Speaking at a Westminster media briefing, the spokesperson said: “Questions on these sorts of arrangements are for Ipsa, they’re independent of both parliament and government, they set the allowances.
“But the Prime Minister certainly doesn’t intend to use this and his view is that MPs will want to justify all spending to their constituents.”
After hearing of the new guidance, Rishi Sunak has warned MPs they will have to justify their expenses to voters.
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Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds suggested the expenses watchdog had been a “little bit naive” in putting out the guidance, as Labour frontbencher Jess Phillips added Ipsa was “irresponsible”.
The announcement comes as Britons are feeling the brunt of the cost-of-living crisis worsened by a further squeeze of public spendings and tax hikes in the wake of Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement.
The UK economy will suffer a bigger blow from the global energy crisis than other leading nations, according to international body the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), with its GDP set to shrink by 0.4 percent in 2023 to be followed by shallow growth of just 0.2% in 2024.
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