It is reported today that now we have seen some strong recommendations coming out of the Kelly Inquiry, 'Peers expenses will be reduced'. Although granted not by much. The daily allowance will go from a current maximum £174 to around £140, although a final decision has not been made on this. Perhaps more importantly in the long run though, and more key for better accountability, is that Peers will have to start producing receipts for their expenditure, which they haven't had to up until now.
The Senior Salaries Review Body has clearly decided that it better toughen up quicksmart and try and get some dusty, resilient old Lords to see the need for change. Good luck to them, I say. It would indeed be remarkably inconsistent for the MPs to have to become totally transparent and the Lords to get away with pocketing hundreds of punds of taxpayers' cash with not so much as an explanation of what vital expenditure it went towards.
The House of Lords could actually do with their very own Sir Thomas Legg to review all individual expense claims and ask for repayment of taxpayers’ money where those claims have been illegitimately made. Like it or not, the Lords must come to terms with the fact that their allowances come out of the pockets of taxpayers, and their devil-may-care attitude towards transparency and accountability simply will not wash any longer. Some of the worst examples of extravagance and personal enrichment through the expenses system have come out of the House of Lords, and yet there has not been any whole scale reform of that same system, so hopefully this will be the start of one. Many taxpayers will feel the Lords have shown a disregard for their money, and a disrespect for their views which have been so audibly voiced over the MPs’ expenses scandal. Many Lords do not claim any expenses or allowances, and do a fantastic job for our country, but in the wake of Baroness Uddin and Lobbygate we need to mitigate for the worst and cleaning up expenses is a good place to get the wheels of reform in motion.