UK Politics

Expenses: Lords who did not vote claim £100k - report

House of Lords Image copyright PA

Members of the House of Lords who did not vote in the last parliamentary session claimed £100,000 in expenses, a report has found.

From 2010-15 a total of £360,000 was claimed by 62 peers who did not vote, the Electoral Reform Society said.

Most members are not paid a salary but can claim a daily allowance of up to £300 for Parliamentary duties.

The ERS said the Lords was "growing out of control" but a peer told the BBC that they do more than just vote.

Darren Hughes, deputy chief executive of the ERS, said: "The prime minister said he regrets not reforming the second House in the last parliament.

"It's time for him to act and finally fix our broken upper chamber."

'Speak about issues'

However, Baroness Flather - a former Conservative peer who is now an independent, or "crossbencher" - said the report "missed the point".

She said some crossbenchers rarely vote, but they still contribute to sittings by raising questions, speaking in debates and by meeting people.

"I speak all the time in debates and questions. I became a crossbencher because I want to speak about issues I know the Tories don't want me to speak about.

"I might not vote but I am there and I am doing what I think I should be doing. I am not just going in for 20 minutes," she said.


Who can claim the allowance?

Image copyright PA

Members do not have to vote in the House of Lords to be eligible for the £300 daily allowance - they can claim it for carrying out other duties.

According to the financial guide for members, they can claim the allowance if they attended a sitting of the House, or undertook "qualifying work away from Westminster".

The daily allowance replaced separate overnight allowances, day allowances, and office costs in the previous system.

Members do not have to claim the allowance, or they can claim a reduced allowance of £150 a day.


'Out of date'

The report - entitled House of Lords: Fact vs Fiction - also found that 10 peers were responsible for claiming £260,000 of the £360,000 from 2010-2015.

The society estimates that if the prime minister forges ahead with plans to appoint 50 additional members of the Lords it will cost at least £1.3m per year.

The report also says that more than a third of Lords previously worked in politics, and more than half were over 70 years old, while only two were younger than 39.

Mr Hughes said: "This is not a chamber of experts - it's a chamber of professional politicians.

"Our House of Lords looks nothing like the public whose decisions it impacts - almost half live in London or the South East, while there are just two peers under the age of 40.

"This is a shockingly out of date and unrepresentative institution."

Who's in the House of Lords?

783 peers

currently eligible to vote in the House of Lords

  • 670 Life peers

  • 87 Hereditary peers

  • 26 Bishops

  • £300 daily expenses available to each peer for attending at Westminster

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