• The Congress Chamber was almost empty when the government last met

The Congress and the Senate will collect more than a million euros during the month of March in subsistence and travel allowances despite being confined to their homes and offices by the coronavirus alarm.

On the occasions that plenary sessions and commissions have been held recently they have been attended by only a small handful of parliamentarians.

In full debate yesterday, with the Congress meeting telematically, as a gesture of solidarity it was thought that the deputies and senators could have been renouncing these allowances, especially with public opinion firmly stating that they should be donated to a fund to acquire medical supplies, but none of the groups present, PSOE, Unidas Podemos, PP or Vox, showed any inclination toward following the wishes of the people and proposing such an initiative.

Since14 March, and until at least 11 April 11, face-to-face parliamentary activity in both Houses has been reduced to a minimum, involving just a few deputies in Plenary and Commission in Congress. And neither are the politicians holding functions or gatherings in their constituencies, so it was hoped that the allowance of, in most cases almost 2,000 euros per person, and exempt from taxation of course, might be returned to the public purse to fight coronavirus.

The deputy for Madrid and Equality Minister, Irene Montero of Unidas Podemos, actually said that even if proposed, she would not support a joint donation by parliamentarians for medical supplies

There have, of course, been some exceptions. Ciudadanos, Foro Asturias, the Regionalist Party of Cantabria and the CUP are already donating to a coronavirus fund as is the PP senator for León, Javier Santiago Vélez, who decided to use the allowance to buy face masks for rural agents of the Civil Guard.

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