Labour backlash as Angela Rayner claims £249 Apple Airpods on expenses: ‘Not your money!’

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The deputy leader of the opposition party splashed out on a set of personalised AirPod Pros just a year after she was pictured wearing a set of AirPods. Amazon offers a range of much cheaper wireless earbuds, some for less than £20 per pair.

MPs were allowed to claim up to £10,000 to kit out home offices for themselves and their staff.

Ms Rayner also treated herself to a comfortable chair, a flashy new ipad and a digital pencil.

Her bill included a £1,619 iPad Pro with a £99 case, £199 keyboard and £131 digital pencil, and a £70 office chair, according to The Sun.

Furious taxpayers took to Twitter to question the extravagance of the shopping list during the Covid crisis.

Many people were keen to know why exactly Ms Rayner had to have personalised Airpods instead of regular ones.

Apple offers a personalisation service which includes engraving a name and emojis on the case.

One person wrote: “She could have bought any wireless headphones/earphones at a cheaper price.

“Apple Airpod Pros are £199 at Amazon and other retailers, she bought them from Apple at £249 so paid extra for personalised ones… why do they need to be personalised to do her job?”

A second tweeted: “If they were bought on expenses and not her personal money they technically don’t belong to her.

“I can’t just take headphones from my work I have to give them back, so she shouldn’t have personalised something that doesn’t belong to her!

“It’s taxpayers’ money, not her own money!”

And yet a third said: “Why should the taxpayer fund Angela Rayner’s decision to buy £249 apple headphones?

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“There are many other, very high quality, noise cancelling headphones available for less than half the price.”

And another person said Ms Rayner’s purchases were ironic given Labour’s slogan, “for the many, not the few”.

Despite Ms Rayner having very expensive taste for electronics, her bill is likely to be accepted by Parliament.

John O’Connell, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “No doubt all this spending will be ‘within the rules’.

“But MPs should be asking themselves if it was necessary when millions of Brits may face unemployment.”

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Over the past year Ms Rayner has claimed £30,952.98 on expenses including £1,600 on 23 first-class rail tickets between London and her Manchester constituency.

She was among a string of shadow cabinet members who slapped staggering bills on the taxpayer during the pandemic were for rent, TV licences, travel and even hand sanitiser/

Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy claimed £23,083.44 on expenses, including £8,883.35 on non-office rent and £475.67 in council tax.

Ms Nandy also put a bill for £20 on her expenses tab for hand sanitiser.

Shadow Business Minister Lucy Powell was another big spender in Labour’s benches, as she submitted an expenses claim for £25,206.49 last year/

She spent £1,141.10 on rail trips including £390 for first-class journeys,and £157 for a TV licence fee, all to be paid by the taxpayer.

Last week Chancellor Rishi Sunak refused to rule out raising taxes before cutting them ahead of the next election.

He indicated he will extend emergency support packages as the coronavirus lockdown is unwound.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said “now is not the time” for tax increases and shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said the party would consider backing an increase on corporation tax “if we see a long-term plan”.

She said: “What the Conservatives are doing now though isn’t setting out that long-term plan to rebalance our tax system, in fact they’re kicking the can down the road when it comes to business rates reform.”

Ms Dodds said Mr Sunak “is trying to get any tax changes out of the way quickly, get them out of the way, so that they can then have a general election when they can cut taxes”.

Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Bridget Phillipson went further to accuse him of “playing politics with the recovery, threatening hard-hit businesses and families with immediate tax rises now just so he can cut them before the election”.

As Britons prepare for Budget week this week, Mr Sunak announced that pubs, restaurants, shops and other businesses hit hardest by the Covid crisis will be boosted by a £5 billion grant scheme to help them reopen as the lockdown is eased.

He said the “restart grants” will be worth up to £6,000 per premises and will help non-essential retailers reopen and trade safely.

Around 450,000 shops are expected to be eligible.

A spokesperson for Ms Rayner said: “All expenses for the running of Angela’s parliamentary office were submitted in line with the rules.”

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