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Pricey Politics - The PM's Plans to Pack the Lords Will Cost Millions

31/07/2015 17:58 BST | Updated 31/07/2016 10:59 BST

Parliament might be in recess, but the House of Lords has been in the news big-time this week over another scandal.

We thought it would be worth pointing out just how broken our upper chamber really is - and this week, we published new research showing exactly that. Our second House is caput, rotten, out-of-date, flailing and falling apart - if that wasn't already clear enough.

On Tuesday we released new figures which show how out of control the House of Lords has become in terms of its size and cost - less than a day after the Prime Minister appeared to rule out reform of the upper chamber (despite saying he 'regretted' not reforming it in the last Parliament)

The House of Lords is growing in size with each new government - and it shows no sign of slowing down despite scandal after scandal.

Here's what we've found:

The Prime Minister's plans to appoint 50 more Peers over the summer would cost at least £1.3m in expenses and allowances (and potentially up to £5.9m given infrastructure costs), while an additional 100 peers - a prospect very much on the table over the course of this Parliament - would cost at least £2.6m (and up to £11.8m including costs outside of allowances).

To 'rebalance' the upper chamber strictly in line with the 2015 General Election results - without kicking out Peers en masse or moving to a fully elected chamber - would require an additional 704 Peers, bringing the number of unelected Peers to 1490. Unelected lawmakers would outnumber our elected MPs by more than two to one. A 'rebalanced' Lords on the basis of the May 7th result could cost at least £18m.

According to the House of Lords Resource Accounts analysed by the ERS, the net operating costs of the House of Lords in 2013-4 was £93.1m, approximately equivalent to £118k per peer.

During the period spanning February 2014 to January 2015 £21,424,729 was spent on Lords allowances and expenses, with the average peer receiving £25,826.

These latest figures only serve to reinforce the need for a radical rethink about our second chamber, which is getting bigger and more expensive by the day.

Surely it can't be  right that when politicians are talking about reducing the cost of politics, they're set to stuff the upper chamber with yet more party appointees?

We'll be publishing a full report on the House of Lords towards the end of August - keep your eyes peeled. We're holding our undemocratic upper chamber to account.

This article was first published on the Electoral Reform Society blog