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Unsalaried Lords Paid £6m in 3 Months

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TEHRAN, June 9 (ICANA) – A new expenses regime implemented in the British House of Lords has seen peers claim more than £6 million in the three months to December 2010.
Thursday, June 09, 2011 9:01:32 PM
Unsalaried Lords Paid £6m in 3 Months

The figure released by the parliament show a significant rise in comparison with the almost £4.25 million peers received in the last three months of 2009, despite earlier pledges by the Senior Salaries Review Board that the new system will be “cost neutral”.

Under the new regime introduced in October last year, the Lords who are not paid a salary can claim a “clocking in” allowance of £300 for a full day attendance and £150 for a part time appearance at the parliament plus travel and secretarial costs.

The Lords' former arrangement that authorized a £174-a-night- “overnight subsistence” was at the center of the expenses scandal which saw two Conservative peers, Lord Taylor of Warwick and Lord Hanningfield, convicted of fraud and three others suspended from parliament and ordered to return tens of thousands of pounds they earned by cheating.

That arrangement required that Lords stay away from their main homes to be entitled to the allowance but there was no definition of what a main home is leading to several cases of abuse.

Yet the new system has proved a failure too as the costs are almost 40 percent than the last regime even when factoring in the money peers gained through cheating.

According to the figures, 25 peers received £16,000 in the three-month period (amounting to £64,000 a year) as 12 others claimed more than £17,000.

The highest overall payment was made to Labour peer Lord Sewel who claimed £23,428 more than £8,000 of which was for travelling from his home in Aberdeenshire to Westminster.

The highest attendance payment was made to Consevative Lord Bates who received £15,450 for attending all the 49 days the House held sessions as well as an extra £750 for working away from Westminster.

One peer, Labour's Lord Berkeley, even charged the taxpayers £14 for riding a bicycle.

Back in May, former Tory Lord Taylor was given a 12-month imprisonment for claiming £11,277 in false expenses.

Meanwhile, former Lord Hanningfield has been convicted of a £14,000 fraud in parliamentary expenses and is awaiting for his ruling.

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