For the first time, MPs can deduct the cost of food and drink at their staff Christmas parties.
It means that taxpayers will foot the bill for the festivities, but alcohol cannot be included in the “hospitality” claim, according to Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority guidance (Ipsa).
The announcement came in response to frequently asked questions about how MPs and their staff can celebrate Christmas.
“MPs can claim the costs of food and refreshments for an office festive” in their parliamentary or constituency offices, according to the statement.
Because “festive decorations” are covered by the guidance, lights, tinsel, and a tree can also be expensed.
However, MPs have been warned to keep the cost of living crisis in mind, and any claims “should represent value for money, particularly in the current economic climate.”
Some have criticised the move, with the TaxPayers’ Alliance claiming that MPs “already get a good deal without taxpayer-funded office perks.”
The organisation’s John O’Connell said: “While businesses and households in their constituencies pay for parties out of their own pockets, politicians get to dip into the public purse.
“MPs who want Christmas bashes should foot the bill themselves.”