The Secretary General of the Chamber of Deputies, Laurent Scheeck, delivered the figures on Wednesday 1 November, indicating that despite exceptional expenses related to the pandemic, the health crisis had actually resulted in parliament spending less.
Most of the spending related to lockdowns and other restrictions was in fact limited to €536,000 of audiovisual equipment for the MPs. Masks, disinfectant and additional cleaning amounted to another €88,000.
The parliament also saw its staff grow by 9 additional members. However, the reduction in mobility and in-person meetings is what likely led to the decrease in spending. In 2020, a total of €43.5m were needed to cover the parliament’s activities. The biggest chunk of that went to social benefits charges for MPs and staff (€14.7m). Staff costs amounted to €12.8m while travel costs slumped down to €275,000.
In April 2020 the parliament moved floor debates from the Chamber of Deputies building to the Cercle Cité to comply with public gathering restrictions. They only returned to their traditional location in October 2021.
Looking towards next year, the parliament plans for digitalisation to play a bigger part. Computer equipment to the tune of €355,000 has already been purchased for the MPs and parliament staff.