MPs can put Christmas parties on expenses for the first time - just no booze

22 November 2022, 08:15 | Updated: 22 November 2022, 08:16

Festive treat: Taxpayers will pay for MPs' Christmas parties
Festive treat: Taxpayers will pay for MPs' Christmas parties. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

MPs have been allowed to put food and drink for staff Christmas parties on expenses for the first time.

Taxpayers will pay out for MPs’ parties, but they are forbidden from putting alcohol on the ‘hospitality’ claims.

The change comes after new guidance was issued by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA).

It said "MPs can claim the costs of food and refreshments for an office festive" in their parliamentary or constituency offices.

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Christmas lights, tinsel and a Christmas tree can also be put on expenses as “festive decorations” are covered.

IPSA 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 have been told the Christmas expenses claims must “represent value for money, especially in the current economic climate.”

The guidance adds: “As with all claims, value for money should be considered and all claims will be published in the usual manner.”

IPSA has revealed that the total bill for MPs’ costs increased to £138.6m in 2020-21, up from £132.4m from the previous year.

Ipsa chief executive Ian Todd said: “We know that it has been a challenging year for MPs and they have seen another rise in casework.”

In September, the Independent discovered that MPs had charged taxpayers almost £200,000 for energy bills and other utilities at their second homes.

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