H O U S E of L O R D S
THE FINANCING OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS
This paper describes briefly how the House is funded and what
the money is spent on.
Public Funding and Accountability
As part of Parliament, the House of Lords is an independent institution which is funded
by a direct Vote from the Treasury and which is not cash limited for constitutional reasons.
Overall financial control is vested in the Finance and Staff Sub-Committee of the House
of Lords Offices Committee on which members from all sides of the House are
represented, including the Party Leaders and the Convenor of the Cross-bench Peers.
The Clerk of the Parliaments, who is Head of the Lordsí Administration, is the
Accounting Officer, and is responsible for all its expenditure including its propriety and
The House of Lords accounts are subject to examination and certification each year by
the National Audit Office.
Main Heads of Expenditure 1999-2000 (£31.1m)
PEERS' COSTS 30%
STAFF SALARIES 24%
RETIRED ALLOWANCES ETC. 5%
COMPUTERS, ETC. 20%
How the Money is Spent
- Staff Salaries and General Administrative Expenses:
These account for less than half of the running costs (44%). They
cover salaries of all professional and support staff, the provision
and printing of official papers, computer services, specialist
advice to select committees, postage and telecommunications, staffing,
the Library and other support for the Law Lords in their judicial
capacity. Expenditure is partially offset by receipts from fees
on judicial appeals and private bills.
- Security: The House of Lords contributes to the
overall cost of security in the Palace of Westminster which accounts
for about 18% of the House of Lords budget.
- Peers - Reimbursements: Peers are not paid, i.e. they do not receive a salary other than
a small number of members who are salaried by virtue of the office they hold. Peers
can be reimbursed for travel, subsistence and secretarial costs which they may incur in
connection with their parliamentary duties in attending either a sitting of the House
or a meeting of a Committee of the House. The allowances are based on
recommendations of the Senior Salaries Review Body (The daily maxima are: £84.00
overnight accommodation, £37.00 for day subsistence and £36.00 for secretarial
assistance). Peersí expenses amount to 30% of the annual running costs of the House
of Lords. In addition, the two opposition parties and the Convenor of the Cross-bench
Peers receive financial assistance for their parliamentary business (currently
£222,480 a year for the Conservatives, £66,743 a year for the Liberal Democrats and
£20,520 a year to the Convenor of the Cross-bench Peers).
- Other Elements: This includes staff retirement pension benefits and part of the staff costs of the Refreshment Department, almost half of which are offset by income.
A separate Works Services Vote covers the building (grade one listed) and its
maintenance. This Vote also covers substantive ongoing items like stonework restoration,
the provision of cabling for data networks and compliance with fire, health and safety
regulations. In 1999-2000 it amounted to £14.1m.
The House of Lords Annual Report and Accounts (The
Stationery Office) gives a full account of how the money is spent.
How Does the House of Lords Compare With Other Legislatures?
The 1999-2000 costs of the European Parliament, the House of Commons
and the House of Lords are shown below. They highlight the scale
of expenditure involved although exact comparisons are difficult.
|TOTAL COSTS|| COSTS PER MEMBER||SITTING DAYS|
Source HL Hansard 5 July 2000 Col WA 133