Kent MPs stay warm at taxpayers expense, while Kent children go cold

9 of the 17 Kent MPs have claimed more than £28,000 on expenses to pay energy bills in their second homes over the last six years, the Shepway Vox Team can reveal.

Taxpayers were charged £28,377 between April 2018 and September 2022, despite MPs’ wages continuing to rise.

The Ashford MP Damian Green has claimed the most for his energy bills, followed by MP for Folkestone & Hythe Damian Collins, and taking bronze medal position is Helen Grant MP for Maidstone and The Weald.

The figures are expected to increase further, as MPs submit more claims for the current financial year. Claims for the winter months, when the cost of gas and electricity hit record highs, have yet to be logged, meaning taxpayers are likely to take an even bigger hit. 

Earlier this month, IPSA confirmed that MPs would get another pay rise in April, bringing their wages up to £86,584.

Spiralling energy prices have worsened the UK’s cost of living crisis and pushed families into poverty. Campaigners and opposition politicians have called on the government to provide extra support for households and introduce a windfall tax on energy giants, who have raked in huge profits.

Under the rules, MPs living outside London are allowed to claim up to £25,000 a year to pay for a second home in the capital. Authorities say this is to avoid people being “put off” the idea of being a politician, and to “ensure all MPs can fulfil their parliamentary duties regardless of how far their constituency is from London”.

Simon Francis, co-ordinator of the End Fuel Poverty Coalition, said: “Politicians are becoming increasingly disconnected from the public experience of the cost of living crisis.

“While research for the Warm This Winter campaign found that nine million UK adults spent this Christmas in cold damp homes, politicians enjoyed taxpayer-funded warmth in their second homes.”

In Englanda households is defined as being in fuel poverty if:

They are living in a property with an energy efficiency of D,E,F or G

Their disposable income (income after housing costs and energy needs) would be below the poverty line

A household in a property with an energy efficiency rating of C or better (around half of dwellings) cannot be defined as being in fuel poverty, regardless of their income or the level of energy prices, according to the Govt definition.

Fuel poverty is affected by three key factors:

  • a household’s income,
  • their fuel costs,
  • their energy consumption (which in turn can be affected by the energy efficiency of the dwelling).

Current estimates of fuel poverty data are from 2020 or earlier, and therefore don’t account for the recent rapid increases in domestic energy prices.

The 2020 data for Kent was released in April 2022. The data shows 10% of Kent households, at that time, were in fuel poverty. The next update of data will be in April 2023, when campaigners expect to see a significant rise in the number of households in Kent in fuel poverty.

All Kent local authorities have seen an increase in households in fuel poverty since 2019. Almost 60% (38,332) of Kent households in fuel poverty are in rented accommodation. Kent households with children account for 40.3% (25,832) of households in fuel poverty.

While our Kent MPs and their families stay warm at taxpayers expense in their second homes, a growing number of children in Kent live in cold households, and that is expected to rise significantly when the next set of data is released in April 2023.

If you are struggling to stay warm, then warm banks are available and a map of where they are across the UK and Kent can be found by clicking this link

The Shepway Vox Team

The Velvet Voices of Voxatiousness

About shepwayvox (1685 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

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