180,000 sign petition demanding MPs to donate their £10,000 ‘working from home allowance’ to the NHS

Many of us have had to transition to the work-from-home-lifestyle, but if you’re lucky enough to be an MP, you can now claim an additional £10,000 for office costs to ease the strain.

The £10,000 allowance comes on top of the existing office budget of about £26,000 a year per MP, leaving them with £36,000 in total. Just to put that in perspective, that’s more than ten thousand pounds more than a radiographer, occupational therapist or – paramedic’s – entire starting salary.

So what can you get for £10,000? How about, two Apple iMac Pro desktop computers, three of these office-block ready high-performance printers, or ten ergonomic office chairs.

MPs have staff who will also need to cover the costs of working from home, so it does make sense that they'd need equipment to do so.

But that hasn't stopped some people from complaining about elected representatives being given this new allowance at a time when public services are struggling with the coronavirus crisis.

For example, we already know about the widespread reports of shortages of PPE (personal protective equipment) for NHS staff to protect them from catching coronavirus. PPE includes masks, gloves, face-shields and protective outer-wear. Though the government has said there is enough of this "precious resource" to go around, staff on the front line say it's not getting to them.

So unsurprisingly, given that the NHS is in short supply of equipment, many think that this £10,000 allowance is over the top.

Now a Change.org petition calling for “A rejection of the MP’s £10000 coronavirus ‘working from home’ allowance” has gained over 180,000 signatures.

The petition, which was created by Lucy Pearson, requests that:

Parliament discuss this allowance and identify whether the funds could be put to better use (eg PPE for frontline NHS workers.)

Many are pointing out the disconnect between Matt Hancock claiming that now is not the time to be talking about nurses salaries, but apparently it is the time to be increasing MP’s expenses budgets (although that's clearly different from a salary).

People are also wondering what the extra £10,000 could be used for, given many MP’s already have an office budget.

Some MPs publicly defended allowance the increase.

The thing is, it's very unlikely that individual MPs would be abe to personally donate the cash to the NHS – that would probably be expenses fraud...

But this whole debacle does expose a conflict between how people feel like frontline workers are being treated compared to politicians, which doesn't feel like it'll end well.

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