In case it has escaped your readers’ notice, Mr Bellingham is not the only old-Etonian millionaire in our constituency.
We also have the life peer, Lord Howard of Rising. I am sure readers will not be surprised that Lord Howard voted in line with the government and against the blocking and delaying motions on tax credit cuts in the House of Lords – along with other unelected Conservative millionaire peers. But would it surprise readers to know that members of the House of Lords can claim a flat rate attendance fee of £150 per day or £300 attendance fee per day when the house is sitting? They can also claim travel and other expenses and can eat in a subsidised restaurant while they are there. How nice of the taxpayer to facilitate this! Over a two-year period (2012 – 2014) Lord Howard was able to claim around £50,000 for attending the House of Lords. Multiply that by 760 (the current number of lords) and someone good at maths could tell you that this adds up to a considerable sum.
Lord Howard of Rising is also a borough councillor (elected this time) with cabinet portfolio for “special projects” (I will reserve comment on the level of attendance and the “special projects” addressed). For this, in 2014-15, he received a basic allowance of £5,139.96 and an additional £6,600 as a cabinet member. Combined with the House of Lords, this amounts to an annual figure of £36,739.96 – more than the majority of families in this area earn. And, remember, this all comes from the public purse.
Is this good value for taxpayers’ money? I don’t think so. As a taxpayer I want to see my taxes used wisely to support hard working families and vital public services, to see it spent on nurses, teachers, social workers and police officers – not on peers of the realm who appear not to value or understand the lives of ordinary families.
Dr Deborah Holman
Bridge Street, Lynn