Lords allowance slashed in half after proceedings go virtual because of the coronavirus

Peers take their seats in the House of Lords before the State Opening Of Parliament

Peers take their seats in the House of Lords before the state opening of parliament. The Upper House is one area of British life in need of an overhaul, says Ian Dunt - Credit: Getty Images

House of Lords peers could lose as much as 50% of their allowance after proceedings go 'virtual' due to the coronavirus.

A report by the House of Lords Commission recommended slashing the daily rate peers can claim for participating in chamber and committee business to £162, down from £323.

The nearly 50% cut comes as Upper House proceedings go virtual, removing the need for Lords to claim travel or accommodation expenses.

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Furthermore, members can only be reimbursed if they actively take part in proceedings, such as entering in committee meetings or speaking in a debate. They cannot if they simply watch proceedings online or in the chamber.

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Chairman of the commission and lord speaker, Lord Fowler, said: 'Members of the House of Lords are not paid a salary but have been able to claim an attendance allowance for attending Westminster and undertaking parliamentary work.

'However, like many others around the country we are now working differently with much of our business conducted remotely.

'To reflect this, we are proposing to replace the current allowance with a lower working allowance that reflects the fact that members are not incurring the same overhead costs while carrying out their work from home.

'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.

He has vowed to periodically review the system.

The Upper Chamber went virtual when parliament resumed from Easter break on April 21 in accordance with health advice.

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