I have always given regular detailed updates on my outgoings and expenses as an MP and I will continue to do so.
There have been recent reports by some media outlets that all MPs have been given “£10,000 for working from home” during this crisis. I have not used ANY of this money and I do not anticipate using any of it.
Some background: MPs have not received a £10,000 increase in their salaries. The budget they are allocated every year to run their offices has been increased by an independent body to reflect the fact that they and their staff must now operate from home and may need extra equipment – such as laptops - to do so. This extra (contingency) money is only to allow MPs’ offices to work remotely and cannot be spent on anything personal. Any such money spent will all have to be accounted for with receipts later in the year.
MPs’ budgets are controlled by a wholly independent body called the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) and MPs do not control what the budgets are.
I always treat taxpayers’ money with the utmost respect and I never claim for anything that is not absolutely essential. I have not used any of the £10,000 budget increase that has been allocated, and I do not anticipate having to use any of this extra money at all during this crisis.
Every year for the ten years that I have been a Member of Parliament, I have hugely underspent my Office Budget.
Since 2010 I have saved over £160,000 by always underspending my Office Budget every year.
(You can check these figures for every year since 2010 via my website here https://www.michaelellis.co.uk/office-costs or at the independent IPSA website here: https://www.theipsa.org.uk/mp-costs/your-mp/michael-ellis/).
The current public health emergency has meant I have had to ask my staff to work from home for the first time, rather than from the House of Commons, and at a time when their workload has significantly increased due to the number of constituents urgently requiring help.
Because I always underspend my Office Budget by significant amounts, I have readily available funds from my existing budget to purchase new laptops from my regular annual budget - I therefore do not need to draw upon the extra £10,000 that has been allocated.
However rather than purchase laptops/computers for my staff, even from my available and existing budget, I have borrowed laptops for my staff from the House of Commons authorities for free - at zero cost to the taxpayer - to allow my staff to work remotely.
Continuing to operate from home allows me and my staff to respond to thousands of constituency emails and I am pleased that my team and I have been able to continue with responding to almost all emails within two working days.
You can read what IPSA has said about the £10,000 budget increase here: https://twitter.com/ipsaUK/status/1248214215506223106.