Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Just to remind us all

The House of Lords, the part of the British constitutional structure that still believes in doing its job of scrutinizing carefully legislation and amending it, if needs be, as well as producing copious and carefully argued reports on various aspects of EU legislation, the constitution and many other matters, is looking into the matter of its members’ expenses.

Peers do not get paid but they do get daily expenses when they attend the chamber. They also get miniscule secretarial allowances. As part of the reviewing exercise the House of Lords produced comparative figures on how much the two Houses of the British Parliament and the European Parliament cost. I cannot, alas, put the charts but I can quote the figures. Here goes:

The 2003-04 total costs for the House of Lords were £61.1 million, for the House of Commons: £269.2 million and for the European Parliament £712.5 million of which the UK, with 87 members at the time, contributed £89.7 million.

Costs per member for the 2003-04 session were as follows:
House of Lords: £91,000, House of Commons: £409,000, European Parliament: £1,138,000.

I hope everyone feels happy now. And just to add to the general discussion of value for money, I may add that in the 2002-3 session, the European Parliament sat 161 days, the House of Commons 162 days and the House of Lords 174 days.

Here is the full set of figures as given in a written answer in July of this year.

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