Anger was almost palpable this week at the news that Grantham MP Nick Boles has claimed more than £670 towards the cost of heating his second home.
And what did he have to say about it? “No comment”.
The Conservative is one of 340 MPs to have claimed back on their energy bills for their second homes, revealed in a Sunday Mirror investigation. The newspaper reported that Mr Boles claimed £673.05 towards electricity, gas and other fuel.
Comments made by Mr Boles in July last year have added fuel to the fire, when he said in a keynote speech given to the think-tank Resolution Foundation that pensioners should be means-tested before being granted a winter fuel allowance.
At the time, he said: “Does anyone here think it would be responsible for a country in our financial position to go on giving a free TV licence to Michael Winner, free prescriptions to Lord Sugar and a winter fuel allowance to Sir Paul McCartney?”
Speaking after the uproar that followed his speech, Mr Boles told the Journal that the only way to allay pensioners’ fears for the future of their grandchildren is to “take money away from people that don’t need it as much”.
Mr Boles’ annual salary as an MP and junior planning minister is £89,435.
Constituent Dave Wilson, of Canterbury Close in Grantham, is “disgusted” by the news that Mr Boles has claimed back on his energy bills.
The 62-year-old said: “It’s completely wrong, it’s obscene. Some people can’t afford to put their heating and some are having to go to foodbanks and the rest of it.
“He’s completely out of touch with with society.”
Meanwhile, Anthony Wade, of Dysart Road in Grantham, said he cannot afford to turn on his heating.
Mr Wade, 62, receives pension credits totalling just £580 per month and £130 of that is spent on gas and electricity. And that is set to rise even further he learned this week after receiving a letter from NPower warning of a hike in gas and electricity.
He said: “I can’t afford to have my radiators or my gas fire on, and there he is claiming over £600 for his energy bills. Why should MPs be able to claim?
“I have to sit on my settee with covers over me.”
l Should MPs be allowed to claim back on their bills? Should they take a moral stance and choose not to claim? Write a letter to the editor or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org