Peers’ daily allowances to be reduced
Daily allowances for members of the House of Lords could be halved in line with changes to Parliament’s working practices brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
It has been recommended that the maximum allowance peers can claim per day is reduced from £323 to £162.
Most peers in the House of Lords do not claim a salary and receive the allowance to cover the costs they incur by attending parliamentary sessions.
The allowance reduction is pending approval from peers, who will discuss the proposals in the Lords next week.
The House of Lords Commission said that the proposed reduction would be temporary, adding that it was respective of the fact that most parliamentary business is being conducted remotely and as a result many peers would not be incurring costs to attend sessions.
To claim the reduced allowance, peers will be now be required to “actively participate” in debates or committees by speaking. Any who are simply following the proceedings online or in the chamber will not be entitled to an allowance.
The move is expected to save around £115,000 per day in claims.
Discussing the proposals, Lords Commission chair Lord Fowler said: "Members of the Lords work hard and do a vital job scrutinising public policy and holding the government to account.
"That is more important than ever in the current crisis, and the allowance we are proposing will ensure that this work can continue without the need for members to go against the public health guidance by travelling into Westminster to sit on the red benches in the House of Lords chamber or in a committee room."
Like the House of Commons, the Lords has reduced its activities to ensure social distancing can be practised within the Palace of Westminster. It now sits for three days per week and business is being carried out under the new virtual system, with screens erected in the chamber.
The average age of Lords members is 70, suggesting that many could be at risk should they contract coronavirus.