Allowances - Motion

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 12:00 pm ar 27 Mawrth 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Baroness Smith of Basildon Baroness Smith of Basildon Shadow Leader of the House of Lords, Shadow Spokesperson (Northern Ireland), Shadow Spokesperson (Devolved Issues) 12:00, 27 Mawrth 2024

My Lords, I thank the Leader of the House for bringing this forward today. He has heard the mood of the House, and it is warmly welcomed. I also put on record our thanks to the chairs of the groups and the convenor. They have consulted around the House about the difficulties caused for those who travel some distance to get here and stay overnight. I am grateful to them for their efforts in putting forward a scheme.

This scheme recognises three things. First, when the rules on the initial daily payment were changed, it was not kept in line with inflation for around 10 years, meaning that it fell behind what was reasonably expected when it was set up. At the same time, the cost of hotels and other accommodation increased significantly above inflation during that period, meaning that those paying for accommodation are paying a significantly greater proportion of the daily allowance than they were when the scheme was set up.

To answer the noble Baroness, Lady Fraser, the difference between us and the Members of the House of Commons is that they are salaried employees, and we are not. We receive a daily allowance for days on which we attend and are here working. So, there is a difference in the arrangements for the two Houses.

The scheme also recognises that this is a contribution towards the costs, which fluctuate enormously; in that sense, it is fair to all colleagues. It also recognises the work of your Lordships’ House. Too often we talk about allowances in the abstract, but allowances enable Members of this House to fulfil their responsibilities. Members who have to dash off early to catch the train home because they cannot find a hotel within their price range are disadvantaged and cannot play a proper role. The bottom line is that we need to ensure that the House can do its work properly. I am grateful to the Leader of the House and to the chairs of the groups, who, as I said, have done a lot of work in producing something which is fair and reasonable for all. It has the support of these Benches.