MSP Rona Mackay has backed calls to end the financial abuse of taxpayers’ cash by unelected peers in the House of Lords.
SNP MPs in Westminster have revealed 14 per cent of peers clocked in for expenses in June without any recorded parliamentary contributions.
They claimed the total monthly expenses of £4,200 made up of daily payments of £300 to cover costs of their supposed duties.
It has now been suggested a new swipe-in-swipe-out system is installed for both greater accountability and enhanced security.
MSP Rona Mackay said: “It will rightly make the public’s blood boil when they hear of wealthy lords, ladies, barons and dames turning up to essentially steal £300 from UK taxpayers.
“A new means of swiping in and out will keep those peers responsible accountable to the public and allow them to be exposed for a lack of parliamentary activity relative to high expenses claims.
“The very fact this is happening, and that there seems to be this of entitlement among some peers is a slap in the face to ordinary people in Scotland and the rest of the UK.”
MSP Gil Paterson said: “While this system will be getting used legitimately by many of the peers in the House of Lords, it is absolutely being abused by some. This has to change, there’s no question to.
“Such suggestions will be a bitter pill to swallow for our Westminster elite who seem to thrive off this gravy train.
“These are the same people who have been voting through and influencing hard-line austerity and benefit cuts, causing record-high use of foodbanks in my constituency.
“Regardless of whether you agree with an unelected second chamber, I am sure there is wide consensus among the public to end this racket as a matter of urgency.”
From Rona Mackay MSP (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) and Gil Paterson MSP (Clydebank and Milngavie)
By Alan Ferguson 07342 061722
NOTES – SNP NATIONAL PRESS RELEASE W/ FUTHER INFO:
For release: Thursday 20th July
NEW SECURITY PROPOSALS ARE OPPORTUNITY FOR GREATER LORDS ACCOUNTABILITY
SWIPE IN – SWIPE OUT SYSTEM COULD END ‘SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE’ LORDS ABUSES
SNP House of Lords spokesperson Tommy Sheppard MP has suggested a new system of ‘swiping in and out‘ for parliamentarians at Westminster, for both members of the House of Lords and MPs.
This would be both as a new security measure – but also as a means of trying to avoid some of the reported abuses of attendance allowances by members of the Lords.
Tommy Sheppard has written to the authorities at Westminster – to suggest the new attendance system for peers would also help to establish for how long those Lords who claim their daily £300 allowance for coming into the building are actually present.
Mr Sheppard has said the current system is ‘simply unacceptable’ and adds to the argument that the House of Lords is an ‘affront to democracy’.
Tommy Sheppard MP commented:
‘’There are so many shortcomings in the way the House of Lords functions – it is an utter anachronism. My suggestions are aimed at increasing their security and that of MPs – but accountability of peers is also key in this proposal. Members of the House of Lords operate under such privileged rules – which are clearly open to abuse – and it is simply unacceptable.
‘’In the last month for which figures are available (Feb 2017) – SNP research shows that 14% of those Lords who claimed the maximum £4200 for that month – made no recorded contribution to parliament whatsoever. My suggestions will allow unelected members of the Lords to demonstrate that they put in a full shift for their £300 daily allowance – or not.
‘’As with anyone receiving public funds, peers should be open to scrutiny about how much time they are involved in debates or committees – by swiping in and out – that will at least be a public record of duration of attendance and value for money.
‘’There are now over 800 Lords and we know that the Tories want to increase their number even more whilst decreasing the size of the House of Commons. This is just an affront to democracy – and while we have to put up with this laughable chamber – we should insist on greater accountability.’’
See letter from Tommy Sheppard MP here :
ALAN J. FERGUSON
Rona Mackay MSP and Gil Paterson MSP
Tel: 07342 061722