MPs cannot claim for alcohol from expenses

30 November 2021
What was claimed

MPs earn a starting salary of £81,932, higher than the starting salaries for nurses, midwives, paramedics and radiographers (£25,655) and junior doctors (£28,808).

Our verdict

The starting salaries quoted are correct for 2021.

What was claimed

MPs receive expenses and an allowance for food and booze.

Our verdict

MPs cannot claim expenses for alcohol. MPs do receive expenses and can claim up to £25 for food and non-alcoholic drinks per night if they stay outside their constituency or London area. Catering on the parliamentary estate is also effectively subsidised, but is not solely for MPs.

A Facebook post claims MPs earn a starting salary of £81,932, plus “expenses + allowance for food and booze”. It compares this to the starting salaries for nurses, midwives, paramedics and radiographers (all of which it says start on £25,655) and junior doctors (£28,808). 

The post is a screenshot of this tweet

While the starting salaries are all correct, the claim that MPs receive an allowance for food and alcohol is not accurate. 

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), which regulates and administers MP expenses, says that “MPs may claim for the cost of purchasing food and non-alcoholic drinks where they have stayed overnight outside the London Area and their constituency. 

“This is limited to £25 for each night they have stayed, but the claims can be for purchases made during the day.”

It also states that IPSA will not pay claims for alcoholic drinks. 

We’ve also written previously about the fact that catering services within parliament are run at a loss and so effectively subsidised (though these are used by more than just MPs).

MPs do earn a salary of £81,932 and receive expenses “to cover the costs of running an office, employing staff, having somewhere to live in London or their constituency, and travelling between Parliament and their constituency”.

Pay for most NHS professions in England is set out under the Agenda for Change pay system. Nurses, midwives, paramedics and radiographers starting salaries typically fall under pay band 5, which is £25,655. 

Doctors have their own pay scale; junior doctors earn £28,808 in their first foundation year

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