Taxpayers foot the bill: MPs are charging their electric cars for free at the Palace of Westminster — as Ministers consider whether to hike petrol duties
- MPs are charging car batteries at the Palace of Westminster paid by taxpayers
- But Ministers may rise petrol duties – even though a full charge could cost £25
- Commons’ Admin Committee chair Sir Charles Walker said users should pay
MPs are charging their car batteries at the Palace of Westminster on the public purse – even as Ministers consider whether to hike petrol duties, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.
Cables plugged into wall sockets can be seen attached to a variety of electric cars in the huge, five-storey Commons car park beneath the courtyard near Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower.
Depending on the car model, charging from empty to full from the wall could cost the taxpayer up to £25 per vehicle.
Commons officials admitted last night that charging an electric car either from a stand-alone charging unit or from a wall socket was currently free to users.
MPs are charging their car batteries at the Palace of Westminster on the public purse – even as Ministers consider whether to hike petrol duties (file photo of an electric car charging in Westminster)
Cables plugged into wall sockets can be seen attached to a variety of electric cars in the huge, five-storey Commons car park beneath the courtyard near Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower (file photo of the Houses of Parliament)
But Tory MP Sir Charles Walker, chairman of the Commons’ Administration Committee, insisted that anyone charging their car should foot the bill. He said: ‘I have made it absolutely clear that anybody charging their car in the House of Commons has to pay.’
However, Commons officials said that ‘permit holders are allowed to use their own chargers at sockets where safe to do so’.
The free-charging arrangement came to light amid fears that duty on petrol and diesel could go up by 12p a litre next March.
Last night, one Tory MP said that made it all the more inexcusable that people could charge their electric cars for free in the Commons car park.
He said: ‘There’s no free petrol or diesel pump, so why can they charge electric cars for free?’
And campaign group the TaxPayers’ Alliance called on Parliament to crack down on ‘these sorts of perks’. Spokesman Joe Ventre said: ‘At a time of economic turmoil, it’s unreasonable to expect hard-pressed households to pick up the tab for inflated energy bills in Westminster.’
‘I have made it absolutely clear that anybody charging their car in the House of Commons has to pay,’ said Tory MP Sir Charles Walker (pictured), chairman of the Commons’ Administration Committee
Last night, Commons sources said that while there was currently no charge for use, a policy on the use of charging points for electric vehicles – including e-bikes and e-scooters – was being drawn up to apply across both the House of Commons and the Lords.
A parliamentary spokesman said: ‘In light of the growth of electric vehicles, Parliament has made charging points available to car users, with specific guidance issued to promote responsible usage.
‘Both Houses are currently developing a policy that will inform the long-term administration of charging points across the Estate.’
Following Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s financial statement last week, the Office for Budget Responsibility’s assessment assumed an increase in fuel duty of 12p next year to raise £5.7 billion.
But Mr Hunt insisted that no decision to increase the duty, frozen since 2011, had yet been made.
Source: Read Full Article