455 peers get more expenses than the average person’s pay
Many claiming it don’t even speak on red benches
HUNDREDS of peers claimed more in expenses at the House of Lords last year than the average worker’s take-home pay.
Despite the House sitting just 141 days over the year, 455 members each claimed over £22,226 tax-free for turning up and, in some cases, doing little or nothing else.
Taxpayers were landed with a £19million bill for peers’ £300-a-day allowance plus travel costs in 2016/17, a report from the Electoral Reform Society found.
It included £1.3million revealed earlier this year to have been claimed by 115 lords who did not speak once in the upper chamber.
At the time a spokesman insisted they had contributed in other ways, such as by providing written questions or being on a committee – but the Mirror then revealed 72 of the 115 did neither.
And now today’s report reveals 33 of those 72 cheekily claimed a total of £462,510 in expenses. It will increase calls for cuts to the bloated 800-member chamber. The Lord Speaker’s Committee has already suggested reform to cut numbers to 600 by 2028.
But 88% of the public believe the cuts should go further than that, an ERS poll found. House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has previously said the current 800 could be halved to 400.
ERS boss Darren Hughes said: “With nearly one in 10 unelected peers failing to contribute in key ways, we have a democratic crisis in our second chamber. “This report lays bare the rotten state of this unelected second chamber – from couchpotato peers to lobby-fodder lords. We need real reform now.”
Expenses figures are released every three months. The ERS figures were drawn from the Lords’ official records. There is no suggestion any of the peers broke rules or the law.
They are not required to speak to claim their £300 allowance.
A House of Lords spokesman claimed the comparison to average pay is “undermined” because travel expenses “are receipted and are not in any way comparable to a salary”.
The spokesman added: “It is reasonable that peers can claim allowances to cover the costs they incur when they contribute to the work of Parliament.
“Members can claim £300 or £150 for every day they attend the House and undertake parliamentary work.
“They are expected to pay for any costs associated with attending the House such as accommodation and staff costs from this allowance.”
HALVE IT Speaker John Bercow