SNP fury over ‘undemocratic’ House of Lords as peers claim £15m in allowances

MEMBERS of the House of Lords took home nearly £15 million in the last year, new figures have revealed.

According to data from the House of Commons library, peers were paid £13.2m for their daily allowances and a further £1.7m in expenses between August 2020 and July 2021.

The SNP has criticised the amount, which is paid by the taxpayer, arguing that peers are unelected and the Lords should be abolished.

The party has refused to take up seats in the second chamber of Westminster, and has long argued that it should be reformed entirely.

Other parties say it is a vital part of legislative process in the UK and scrutiny of Bills by peers with a range of professional and personal experience is essential for good law-making.

In the 12 months from August 2020, according to the House of Commons library, there were around 22,140 spoken contributions during debates in the Lords, with a total of £14.92m paid out in allowances and expenses – bringing the total cost per contribution to £674.

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The SNP’s Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Pete Wishart MP said:“The unelected House of Lords is a permanent stain on our democracy.

“Taxpayers up and down the country will rightly feel aggrieved that their taxes are being spent – in ludicrous sums – on an undemocratic, outdated system.”

According to a recent poll, a third of Scots were in favour of abolishing the Lords, compared to the UK-wide average of 22 per cent.

The Savanta ComRes survey, carried out in November, also found that 29% of people in Scotland thought the Lords should be entirely elected, which was similar to the 30% average across the UK.

Only 7% of Scots, and 9% of Uk citizens, thought the second chamber should remain as it is

Mr Wishart, MP for Perth and North Perthshire added:”Scotland is on a different path to Westminster – we do not believe in the House of Lords and consistently vote in favour of its immediate removal.

“Labour promised to abolish the House of Lords 11 years ago yet fail to criticise its role now.

“The Tories are adamant that it is a good and proper institution, therefore it’s clear that only the SNP stand firmly against it.

“However, whilst under Westminster rule, we will never be able to shake off the chains of an undemocratic system like the House of Lords.”

A House of Lords spokesman said: “Members of the House of Lords aren’t paid salaries, unlike MPs, but may claim attendance allowance to cover costs associated with attending Parliament.

“In 2020-21 there was a reduction in the total amount claimed by Members due to changes to working practices during the pandemic. The House of Lords is a busy and effective chamber scrutinising and improving laws that affect all of us and holding the government to account.”

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