On the subject of our MP’s expenses recently queried by constituent Dr Williams, we know that Mr Hollinrake claimed £2,925 per month between April and November last year to rent a property in London. This was to enable him to undertake his parliamentary business. As Mr Hollinrake himself has pointed out in his letter to you of 21st April, he accepted a substantial reduction in his earnings to become an MP and represent his constituents. He is perfectly entitled to claim expenses and perhaps rents of close to £3,000 per month are the norm in the parts of London MPs choose to stay in, albeit IPSA put rental caps at under £24k per annum.

At the same time however, Mr Hollinrake’s Government has seen fit to freeze the local housing allowance upon which many of the poorest in our society depend. From April tenants in privately rented accommodation, including those on universal credit, will have their allowance frozen even though their rents have increased. In effect the Government has quietly imposed a real-terms cut and in some parts of the country tenants will lose more than £1,000 a year. Citizens Advice are already concerned that half a million private tenants will lose their homes when the current ban on evictions comes to an end in May. This new cut to crucial support will only make matters worse.

For Government to do this at any time is disappointing; to do it in the midst of a pandemic when so many are suffering additional financial hardship it seems unnecessarily cruel.

R Henley Appleton-le-Street