Lords expenses scheme to be unveiled

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Peers face a 15% cut in their allowances under a new House of Lords expenses scheme being unveiled today.

Members of the Upper Chamber are expected to get a flat rate of £300 for every full day they attend, instead of the current controversial subsistence and office payments.

The Leader of the Lords, Lord Strathclyde is expected to set out plans for cleaning up the system in the wake of a series of scandals.

A group of peers led by Lord Wakeham, the former Conservative cabinet minister, has been considering what changes should be made.

Under the proposals, members will be able to claim a maximum £45,000 a year to cover housing, subsistence and office costs, rather than the present level of £53,000.

The £174-a-night "overnight subsistence" allowance, which has been at the centre of most alleged abuses involving the Lords system, will be scrapped.

Peers living outside London were entitled to claim the allowance to cover the cost of staying away from their main home while working. Yet no definition of a "main home" was supplied in the rules.

The current £86.50 "day subsistence" allowance, for meals and taxis, and a £75-a-day office costs allowance, will also be covered by the new £300-a-day rate.

Peers would need to complete a full day's work to claim the new allowance.

Those who work less than a full day will be able to claim a second-tier rate of £150.

It is expected that peers will attend an average of 100 days out of 147, entitling them to claim about £30,000 a year.

Lord Strathclyde is due to set out safeguards to ensure peers do not simply "clock in" to claim allowances.

Lord Strathclyde is thought to favour self-policing as the most affordable option, with party bosses taking responsibility for making members toe the line.

A government source told the Daily Telegraph the new regime would be "cheaper to run, less bureaucratic, and harder to abuse. A lot of peers are going to lose money."