MPs are currently allowed to claim 7p per mile. The new rate – in line with government recommendations and ratified by the Inland Revenue – is to be 20p per mile.
This increase incensed MPs, Conservatives especially.
Ann Widdecombe – seen on an exercise bike in the ITV series about fat celebs – said: It is difficult to see how a cyclist can clock up these sort of expenses. If it is 20p-a-mile for a bicycle, how much for roller skates, how much for a pogo stick, and how much for shoe leather?
Sir Teddy Taylor, the Conservative MP for Rochford, said: I can understand the government wanting to encourage cycling, but this is over the top. At 20p-a-mile you could buy a dozen new bicycles a year. If this goes through, Ive a good mind to charge 10p a mile for walking to the Commons.
Even Boris Johnson, the most famous cycling MP, is against the increased. He said: I am all for encouraging cycling, but not at taxpayers expense.