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Electoral Reform Society's analysis of the House of Lords flawed


The research on House of Lords allowances published today by the Electoral Reform Society is flawed by factual inaccuracies about the cost of the House of Lords allowances and a limited view of what constitutes a meaningful contribution by a Member of the House of Lords.

Commenting, a spokesman for the House of Lords, said:

“The Electoral Reform Society's calculations are undermined by their narrow focus on spoken contributions. Speaking in the Chamber is only one of the ways Members hold the Government to account and this research ignores Members' contributions including amending legislation, asking the Government written questions and serving on Select Committees – more than 320 Members served on Committees in the last session of Parliament - as well as Parliamentary work away from the Chamber.

“It is inaccurate to describe a House that tabled 5,608 amendments to legislation, asked Government 7,395 written questions and published 170 Committee reports in 2016/17 as a ‘part time' House. The Lords is an active and effective revising Chamber.”

Background

  • ERS's claim that “expenses claims have soared by 20% in two years” is factually incorrect. In the 2016/17 financial year, the total expenses claimed were £22.4m. In 2014/15, they were £20.1m. This is an increase of 11%, largely due to there being 15 more sitting days in 2016/17 (153 in 2016/17 compared to 138 in 2014/15). The average daily attendance was the same in both periods. This data is all publically available in the House of Lords resource accounts which are published annually: https://www.parliament.uk/business/lords/house-lords-administration/how-the-lords-is-run/business-and-financial-information/business-plans-annual-reports-and-accounts/

  • The House of Lords has itself acknowledged it is too large and in December 2016 agreed unanimously to take steps to reduce its size. The Lord Speaker's committee Chaired by Lord Burns was set up explicitly to take that process forward and will report next month.

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