MPs have been told they can claim an extra £10,000 in expenses for working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
The extra money has been made available for each MP in addition to the office budget of up to £26,050 per year.
The additional funds have been allocated to help MPs and their staff pay for laptops and other computer equipment, as well as electricity, heating and phone bills.
MPs were also told by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) that their monthly credit card limit has increased to £10,000 ‘to help with cash flow’ and that cards will not be suspended if they are unable to make the repayments on time.
The 90-day limit on expenses claims has also been suspended, while MPs can be paid claims without evidence and can send on invoices and receipts at a later date.
IPSA issued the update to MPs in March and said: ‘We have agreed a series of immediate measures that we hope will provide you with the resources and flexibility to concentrate on your parliamentary duties and support your staff at this time.
‘There will be an immediate increase of £10,000 to your office costs budget.
‘This is to cover any additional costs you may incur to set up working remotely as a result of coronavirus. This extra budget will be available until March 2021.’
Parliament is currently shut down until April 21 at the earliest.
Sir Alistair Graham, a former chairman of the committee on standards in public life, has criticised the decision.
‘It seems to me a very crude approach,’ he told The Times.