A Labour MP has called on Rishi Sunak to encourage businesses to pay their staff a £200 bonus instead of throwing a Christmas party this year.
Chris Evans, the MP for Islwyn in south Wales, wrote to the chancellor this week urging him to use the scheme as a way to reward workers who have been under pressure throughout the pandemic.
“Many of our lowest paid staff have worked all the way through the pandemic,” he tweeted on Sunday.
“There will be no Christmas parties this year so let companies show their appreciation with up to a £200 tax free gift @RishiSunak.”
Employers are currently allowed to spend up to £150 per employee on Christmas parties, a sum which is tax deductable if used for team building purposes.
They are also allowed to gift staff £50 each without incurring any extra tax debt.
Evans believes the allowances should be combined to provide each worker with a £200 bonus as a way for companies “to say thank you to those who work for them”.
“It’s win-win for everybody,” he told The Sun, “The workers would get a few extra quid, it would be a morale booster for the company and it wouldn’t cost them an extra penny.
“It would be up to the employers to decide if they want to do this of course, but it would be a good way of saving money in the long run.
“And it might just save Christmas spirit for a few people along the way.”
Watch: Rishi Sunak extends furlough scheme as second lockdown begins
Earlier this week Sunak announced that the government would be extending the furlough scheme until March 31 2021.
The scheme, which enables employers to claim support for employees who have been furloughed, was launched in April 2020.
The scheme has already helped to protect more than nine million jobs across the UK but it is estimated that the extension is likely to cost around £6.2 billion a month.
The chancellor said his intention was "to give businesses security through the winter".
"The security we are providing will protect millions of jobs," he added.