Allowances - Motion

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 11:51 am ar 27 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Llafur 11:51, 27 Mawrth 2024

My Lords, it would be wrong of me not to comment on this, having been the Member who first raised this about a decade ago when we first raised the annual allowance. I welcome the report and the Motion in the name of the Leader of the House. I thank him personally. He may have been involved in the original scheme and the mistakes that were made then, but I welcome very much his efforts as Leader, with, I am sure, the support of the Lord Speaker and others, to make sure that this change came before the House today. It is long overdue and very welcome.

I also want to thank my noble friend Lord Foulkes. When I gave up the campaign on this issue through sheer exhaustion, he took up the cause. He deserves some credit on behalf of all of us who live outside London for making sure that this change comes forward.

The initial scheme, which was introduced in the month in which I came into this House, was wrong. In order to stop people who live in London abusing the old scheme, it has resulted in all of them receiving significant financial benefit during the last 14 years, while every Member who lives outside London and who uses overnight accommodation in London had their allowance cut in July 2010 and has suffered financially ever since.

Over time, we will review and adapt the scheme. I very much welcome the conditions concerning receipts; they should have been required under the old system, and certainly must be part of the new arrangement. I slightly question the inclusion of clubs but not Airbnb and similar booking sites; they seem to be a 20th-century, rather than a 21st-century, answer. Perhaps this could be looked at in due course, not least for the sake of the image of your Lordships’ House. Using clubs rather than commercial letting sites seems a little strange.

I welcome the change in principle. I particularly welcome the following statement in the report:

“We consider it important that voices from across the country should be heard in the House of Lords and that the scheme for financial support for Members should enable this.”

Those who live outside London deserve respect too, and they are finally getting it.