MPs want to keep their perks - as well as 11% pay rise

MPs on Commons standards committee argue that other professionals who work anti-social hours are able to claim for expenses

Deputy Political Editor

MPs have launched a battle to hang on to their taxpayer-funded allowances for late-night taxis and hotels, as well as for free tea, coffee and evening meals.

Westminster's financial watchdog has called for them to lose the perks in return for receiving a £7,000-plus pay rise that would boost their salaries to £74,000.

The 11 per cent increase is expected to be approved within weeks despite the opposition of the three main party leaders to the inflation-busting move.

But MPs on the Commons standards committee said they should also be allowed to retain their benefits, arguing that other professionals who worked anti-social hours are able to claim for similar expenses.

They criticised the proposals from the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) for MPs to lose their right to claim £15 for food and non-alcoholic drinks when Parliament sits after 7.30pm and for free hot drinks for visitors.

Ipsa said they should only be allowed to travel home in a taxi after 11pm or stay in a hotel after 1am. The watchdog also called for an end to taxpayers meeting the cost of contents insurance and installing a television in a second home.

Pointing out that the expenses cost £161,000 - equivalent to £248 per MP - in 2011-12, Ipsa argued that most professionals would expect to pay for them themselves.

The committee's MPs said they routinely worked 60 to 70 hours a week and countered that police, junior doctors, solicitors and some civil servants are reimbursed for working late at night.

"We do not consider Ipsa has made a case for changing the boundary of the existing scheme of business costs and expenses," they said.

The MPs added: "We find it hard to believe that employers in other sectors would expect their employees to wait until 01.00 before booking a hotel."

They raised concerns that the planned curb on late-evening taxis would affect their ability to do their job properly.

"We note that many committees begin work at 08.55 and members are expected to attend regardless of the hour at which they ended their work the night before," they said.

The committee also strongly defended taxpayers meeting the expense of buying a television and of a television licence for an MP's second home.

It said: "Since MPs' work involves being informed and available at virtually any hour, we consider access to media and the internet when residing away from home is a legitimate business expense."

On the suggestion that MPs should lose their evening meal allowance, they said: "We note that subsistence payments for food are commonly given to those who are working away from their normal workplace, whether or not they are required to work unsocial hours."

Ipsa is due to make its final recommendations on pay by the end of the year. The watchdog's credibility will suffer a potentially fatal blow if its proposal for a big rise on a backbencher's salary of £66,396 is opposed by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg.

However, the leaders will be aware of the certain public backlash if MPs are awarded a lavish increase while most of the country suffers continuing austerity.

Mr Cameron's official spokesman said today: "MPs' pay is a matter for Ipsa. The Prime Minister's view is that the cost of politics should go down, not up."

Video: Nick Clegg on benefits for the wealthy

News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn