The House of Lords has faced criticism after it emerged that a soaring expenses bill meant peers received tax-free payments worth more than the average British workers salary.
Peers expenses and daily attendance allowance claims rocketed to £23m in the year to last March, an increase of 29 per cent on the previous year, according to The Sunday Times.
The average tax-free bill was £30,827, which is higher than the median salary of an ordinary British worker, while 31 members of the Lords claimed more than the take-home pay of an MP.
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A Lords spokesperson defended the rise in costs, saying peers sat for fewer days in 2017-18 due to the snap election called by Theresa May.
But the figures prompted renewed calls reform of the upper chamber. The SNP said it was completely undemocratic to allow peers to live the high life without accountability to the taxpayer.
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It also comes as the House of Lords was expected to swell in number to more than 830 with the latest round of honours the highest number since Tony Blair scrapped hereditary peerages in 1999.
Unelected Lords are taking advantage of the lack of scrutiny in the upper chamber, said Willie Sullivan, a senior director at the Electoral Reform Society.
The Lords is a rolling expenses scandal and well see this year after year unless there is reform.
His concern was echoed by the SNPs Tommy Sheppard, who said the upper chamber had absolutely no place in a modern democracy.
Allowing peers to profit from their status, without any accountability to the taxpayers who pay for them to live the high life, is completely undemocratic, he said.
The House of Lords is quickly becoming a national embarrassment. The sooner this undemocratic, out-of-touch institution is abolished, the better. 
A spokesperson for the Lords said it was a busy and effective revising chamber which does an important job scrutinising legislation and holding the government to account, making thousands of changes to legislation and comping scores of critical reports.
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UK news in pictures
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Joe Root celebrates with his England team mates after taking the wicket of Rassie van der Dussen during day four of the third Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth. He took a career-best four wickets during the day’s play, which saw the home side follow on in their second innings. They trail England by 188 runs going into day five
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England’s Stuart Broad celebrates with teammate Ben Stokes after the dismissal of South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen during the fifth day of the second Test cricket match in Cape Town. Stokes claimed the last three wickets in the space of 14 deliveries to wrap up a 189-run win
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Viking re-enactors during the Jorvik Viking Festival in York, recognised as the largest event of its kind in Europe
2/50 22 February 2020
Former Greek Finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and editor in chief of WikiLeaks Kristinn Hrafnsonn attend a protest against the extradition of Julian Assange outside the Australian High Commission in London
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A worker recovers stranded vehicles from flood water on the A761 in Paisley, Scotland
4/50 20 February 2020
Police officers outside Regents Park mosque in central London after a man was reportedly been stabbed in the neck. Footage from the scene showed a young white man in a red hooded top being led from the mosque by police
5/50 19 February 2020
Floodwaters surround Upton upon Seven following Storm Dennis
6/50 18 February 2020
Models on the catwalk during the Bobby Abley show at London Fashion Week
7/50 17 February 2020
Rachel Cox inspecting flood damage in her kitchen in Nantgarw, south Wales, where residents are returning to their homes to survey and repair the damage in the aftermath of Storm Dennis
8/50 16 February 2020
Teme Street in Tenbury Wells is seen under floodwater from the overflowing River Teme, after Storm Dennis caused flooding across large swathes of Britain
9/50 15 February 2020
Models present creations at the Richard Quinn catwalk show during London Fashion Week in London
10/50 14 February 2020
Climate change protesters march through Whitehall, London
11/50 13 February 2020
Resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr Javids departure comes just one month before a crucial budget, intended to chart the course for the new government and makes him the shortest-serving chancellor for more than 50 years
12/50 12 February 2020
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13/50 11 February 2020
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14/50 10 February 2020
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17/50 7 February 2020
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18/50 6 February 2020
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Police activity inside a cordon where a man was shot by armed police in a terrorist-related incident in Streatham, London
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Activists attend an anti-Conservative government, pro-Scottish independence, and anti-Brexit demonstration outside Holyrood, the seat of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh
24/50 31 January 2020
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26/50 29 January 2020
British MEP’s and their assistants along with members of the political group Socialist and Democrats at a ceremony prior to the vote on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU at the European Parliament in Brussels
27/50 28 January 2020
Torches are lit using a flare ahead of the Up Helly Aa Viking festival. Originating in the 1880s, the festival celebrates Shetland’s Norse heritage
28/50 27 January 2020
England bowler Mark Wood is lifted aloft by Joe Root after taking the final wicket of South Africa to win the match and series during day four of the Fourth Test at Wanderers in Johannesburg
29/50 26 January 2020
Performers taking part in a parade involving costumes, lion dances and floats, during Chinese New Year celebrations in central London, which marks the Year of the Rat
30/50 25 January 2020
A couple walks along the Basingstoke canal near to Dogmersfield in Hampshire
31/50 24 January 2020
Boris Johnson gestures as he watches a performance during celebrations for Chinese Lunar New Year at Downing Street in London
32/50 23 January 2020
Gabriella Zaghari-Ratcliffe stands next to her father Richard Ratcliffe, the husband of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and his mother Barbara, as they address the media in Downing Street following a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson
33/50 22 January 2020
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34/50 21 January 2020
The sun sets behind tower cranes and the London skyline in the city financial district
35/50 20 January 2020
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, speaks with Prime Minister Boris Johnson as they attend the UK-Africa Investment Summit at the Intercontinental Hotel in London. Johnson is hosting African leaders and senior government representatives along with British and African businesses during the UK-Africa Investment Summit, aimed at strengthening the UKs economic partnership with African nations
36/50 19 January 2020
Joe Root celebrates with his England team mates after taking the wicket of Rassie van der Dussen during day four of the third Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth. He took a career-best four wickets during the day’s play, which saw the home side follow on in their second innings. They trail England by 188 runs going into day five
37/50 18 January 2020
Drag queens pose on the pink carpet as they participate in the “Queen’s Walk” during RuPaul’s DragCon UK at Kensington Olympia
38/50 17 January 2020
Kitty Ross, curator of social history, is pictured reflected in a display cabinet while holding a skeleton violin from the 1880s that forms part of the Sounds of our City exhibition at the Abbey House Museum in Leeds
39/50 16 January 2020
Britain’s Harry, Duke of Sussex (C), hosts the Rugby League World Cup 2021 draw in the gardens of Buckingham Palace in London, Britain, 16 Jaânuary 2020. The Duke, who is expected to step back from senior Royal duties, spoke with Ruby League ambassadors and children from St Vincent de Paul Catholic Primary School in London
40/50 15 January 2020
Vehicles negotiate the flooded B4069 road at Christian Malford in Wiltshire after the river Avon burst its banks
41/50 14 January 2020
Huge waves hit the sea wall in Porthcawl, Wales, as gales of up to 80mph from Storm Brendan caused disruption around the UK
42/50 13 January 2020
Puppeteers from Vision Mechanic rehearsing with Scotland’s largest puppet, a ten-metre tall sea goddess called Storm, in the grounds of the Museum of Flight, East Lothian. Made entirely from recycled materials, it was unveiled ahead of its debut at the Celtic Connections Costal Day celebrations in Glasgow this weekend
43/50 12 January 2020
A windsurfer jumps in the air after hitting a wave in the sea off of West Wittering beach in West Sussex
44/50 11 January 2020
Mikuru Suzuki celebrates winning the women’s championship of the BDO World Professional Darts Championships 2020 in London
45/50 10 January 2020
One of seven new lion cubs at the West Midlands Safari Park in Kidderminster
46/50 9 January 2020
Rawson Robinson, from Nenthead, on the Cumbria and Northumberland border clears snow from the model village he has built in his garden
47/50 8 January 2020
People read messages written on the David Bowie mural in Brixton, south London, on what would have been the singer’s 73rd birthday
48/50 7 January 2020
England’s Stuart Broad celebrates with teammate Ben Stokes after the dismissal of South Africa’s Rassie van der Dussen during the fifth day of the second Test cricket match in Cape Town. Stokes claimed the last three wickets in the space of 14 deliveries to wrap up a 189-run win
49/50 6 January 2020
Protesters in London take part in a demonstration in support of a British woman found guilty of lying about being gang raped in Cyprus
50/50 5 January 2020
Protesters demonstrate outside the US Embassy in London, after America killed Iran’s general Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike at Baghdad’s international airport
The spokesperson said: The increase in the costs of House of Lords allowances in the 2018-19 financial year is largely due to a 25 per cent increase in the number of days that the House sat, rising from 129 in 2017-18 to 161 in 2018-19.
As members of the Lords can generally only claim allowances for days they attend the House, any increase in sitting days is likely to produce an increase in the cost of members allowances.
It comes as the government faced a fresh bid to overturn the absurd and indefensible system of electing hereditary peers that swell numbers in the Lords.
Labour peer Lord Grocott will bring forward a bill to scrap by-elections for hereditary members of the House of Lords, a bizarre custom where seats are doled out to aristocrats through a poll of only a handful of voters.
Mr Blair abolished the majority of hereditary peerages in 1999 but more than 90 people with inherited titles remain, accounting for around 12 per cent of the House of Lords.