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3 December 2015

Osborne Must Abolish Lords 'Plush Fund'

“NO JUSTIFICATION” FOR PROTECTING FUNDING FOR PEERS

Following the Chancellor’s decision to cut public funding for political parties in the House of Commons, the SNP has called for him to abolish so-called Cranborne money for opposition parties in the House of Lords.

The Chancellor announced in his Autumn Statement that ‘Short Money’ for political parties in the House of Commons would be reduced by 19 per cent. However, he has not announced a similar cut for opposition parties represented in the Lords. Cranborne money is provided to the Labour, LibDem and Crossbench groups in the House of Lords, and is intended to pay for staff and office expenses.

Total funding for opposition parties in the Lords is set to increase to £924,989 this year – an increase of 46 per cent since 2010-11.

Commenting, local MSP Stewart Stevenson said:

“People will find extraordinary enough that members of the House of Lords are spending almost £1 million for assistants but for this ‘Plush Fund’ to be protected by George Osborne while imposing austerity cuts on public services.

“Surely if funding to support democratically elected representatives in Parliament will be cut, there can be no justification for protecting spending on unelected and unaccountable peers. The Tories are fond of saying that ‘we are all in this together’ – clearly this does not include their colleagues in ermine robes.

“The SNP has never, and will never, accept seats in the House of Lords or the public money this would come with. We believe that the case for reform of the upper house is unanswerable - the Chancellor should start now and abolish the ‘Plush Fund’.”
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