Lords reform: Elected peers to have pay slashed
Published: 25th Jun 2012 15:59:54
Ministers have decided to slash the pay of future members of a largely elected House of Lords, the BBC has learned.
The move is designed to answer Conservative critics who fear the coalition's proposals for reform could be hugely expensive.
The pay reduction comes after ministers agreed to increase the membership of the reformed chamber from 300 to 450.
The maximum earnings level could be about £45,000 a year - down from the original proposal of about £60,000.
The increase in size for the reformed Lords was recommended by a joint committee of MPs and peers which said that the government's original plan for 300 members would leave too few to do the work.
The government had recommended that members of the reformed House of Lords should get a basic salary of around £60,000.
Ministers said the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) should set the precise figure. But it stipulated that it should be lower than an MP's salary of £65,700 and it should be higher than for members of devolved bodies, such as an Members of the Scottish Parliament, who earn £57,500.
But, with travel and accommodation expenses included, many critics fear the cost of Lords reform could spiral out of control.
Labour peer Lord Lipsey has claimed that it could be as much as £484m over five years if the costs of a referendum and elections and the new salaries are taken into account. This is much higher than the current equivalent figure of about £91m. Ministers accused Lord Lipsey of exaggerating the potential costs.
Nevertheless, in response to concerns about costs, the BBC understands the government has decided to cut the salary back substantially.
Instead of a simple annual salary, members of a reformed House of Lords would earn just £300 a day. This would be taxed and paid only if the member attended.
This is designed to encourage elected members to spend their time in the Lords and not in their large constituencies. Some MPs fear that elected peers would encroach on their constituency affairs.
But even if a member of the Lords attended every day, this salary would be substantially less than under previous plans. The House of Lords sits on average about 150 days a year and that means dutiful members of the reformed Lords would be on about £45,000 gross.
It appears the government has accepted the arguments of the joint committee which raised fears over a full-time second chamber.
Government sources said the new salary level suggested that members of the reformed House of Lords would be expected to have outside interests and jobs. The joint committee had claimed that this was necessary for the Lords to retain up-to-date outside expertise that would otherwise die out in a full time house.
The cabinet is expected to sign off plans for Lords reform on Tuesday before publishing the details on Wednesday. It is expected to recommend an 80% elected and 20% appointed second chamber, with members elected by proportional representation for non-renewable 15-year terms.
The proposals are hugely controversial and face strong opposition in parliament. MPs are to get their first chance to debate the plans early next month.
Labour supports reform in principle but is currently considering whether to oppose the government's timetable for the bill's progress through Parliament.
Leader Ed Miliband spent much of Monday locked in private talks with close advisers about the issue. But most Labour frontbenchers who spoke to the BBC said the party would oppose the so-called "programme motion" to ensure that parliament retained control over the debate.
Critics, however, will say that the party is voting against reform to cause the government maximum trouble.
Many Tory MPs oppose the reform plans. Members of the executive of the Tory backbench 1922 committee will take their concerns to Downing Street on Tuesday for their first meeting with the prime minister since they were elected last month.
At 21:57:25 in PoliticsThe leader of the French far right-wing Front National (FN) party has said that she would welcome collaboration with UKIP with "open arms".
At 21:56:27 in WalesScientists at Cardiff University say they have made a significant breakthrough in the treatment of the most common form of leukaemia.
At 21:48:44 in ScotlandScotland's biggest art installation has been lit up as part of a spectacular launch event.
At 21:45:35 in Entertainment
At 21:45:22 in EnglandA 50-year-old man has been charged after police seized firearms and ammunition from an address in east London.
At 21:38:02 in SportBelfast boxer Paddy Barnes will defend his Commonwealth Games title in Glasgow this summer after his selection was announced on Thursday night.
At 21:29:10 in HeadlinesUS President Barack Obama has vigorously defended his signature healthcare law, saying the debate over its repeal "is and should be over".
At 21:11:50 in EnglandA motorcycle pillion passenger who was killed in a crash in Devon has been named.
At 21:10:35 in EntertainmentThe vivid prose of Gabriel Garcia Marquez described a world as exotic as a Latin American carnival.
At 20:51:45 in EnglandEurostar passengers have been left stranded due to severe delays on Channel Tunnel services.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Lords reform: Elected peers to have pay slashed [Online] (Updated 25th Jun 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1436775/Lords-reform-Elected-peers-to-have-pay-slashed [Accessed 17th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
The leader of the French far right-wing Front National (FN) party has said that she would welcome collaboration with UKIP with "open arms".
With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
Belfast boxer Paddy Barnes will defend his Commonwealth Games title in Glasgow this summer after his selection was announced on Thursday night.
The boss of one of Europe's largest media companies has strongly criticised Google in an open letter printed in a German newspaper.