House of Lords peer says £300 daily allowance is not enough for Welsh and Scottish members

'I’m dependent on my £300 to pay my accommodation. That’s all we get apart from travelling costs'

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A senior peer has said £300 a day tax free allowance is not enough for many in the House of Lords.

Lord Hope, the Convenor of the Crossbench peers, said the allowance may be one of the reasons why there are not enough peers from Scotland and Wales.

He told the Commons' public administrations committee: "I’m very much in favour of something which would increase the representation from elsewhere than London.

"I come from Scotland and I travel down every week from Scotland. I’m dependent on my £300 to pay my accommodation. That’s all we get apart from travelling costs."

He added: "The question is – are people from Scotland or Wales and the remoter parts of England prepared to contribute to the work of the House when that’s all they get out of it from the point of view of covering their costs and the time and effort it takes to travel between the two places?

"We are short of representation from Scotland and we are short of representation from Wales. I’m not sure how you are going to solve the problem of regional representation without having some greater effort in persuading people to take part in the institution."

Lord Hope's claim is "absurd," the Electoral Reform society, which has been leading calls for reform to the House of Lords, said. 

Katie Ghose, the organisation's chief executive, told The Independent: "Lord Hope’s claim that £300 a day is not enough for Lords from outside of London to turn up is absurd, when in fact the public find it shocking that peers are able to claim £300 a day tax-free regardless of how much work they actually undertake.

"It is also extraordinary to hear it reported that a member of the House of Lords say that money is ‘all they get out of it’ when peers are in a privileged position of making laws that affect us all."

She added: "The real issue with costs is the size of the Lords – grossly oversized and the second largest legislative chamber in the world.

"Many peers work long hours, but others are absent. In 2010-15 Parliament, £360,000 was claimed by 62 peers for years in which they did not vote once. 

"What we need is a smaller, more effective, efficient – and crucially elected second chamber."

She said Lord Hope was right to address the "woeful lack of representation" in the Lords and urged the government to provide substantial reforms to the second chamber.

Baroness D’Souza: There are 'many, many, many' peers who do nothing but claim full allowance

It comes after Baroness D'Souza said there were "many, many, many" members of the House of Lords "who contribute absolutely nothing but who claim the full allowance."

"I think that we have lost the sense of honour that used to pertain, and that is a great, great shame,” Baroness D’Souza told the BBC's Meet the Lords programme. 

“I can remember one occasion when I was leaving the house quite late and there was a peer — who shall be utterly nameless — who jumped out of a taxi just outside the peers’ entrance, left the engine running," she said. 

“He ran in, presumably to show that he’d attended, and then ran out again while the taxi was still running. So I mean that’s not normal, but it is something that does happen."

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