Much has been said recently about the reform of the House of Lords, but if you are looking for an argument as to why this needs to be done sooner rather than later, then you need look no further than the breaking news of the last week…
It seems their lordships are not aware that we are trying to fight our way out of recession or that ‘we are all in it together’ or that the government is trying – allegedly – to make huge savings. In fact, quite the contrary! Last year they splashed out nearly £175,000 of taxpayers money of works of art.
Official figures show that they lashed out our hard earned dish on sculptures, artworks and silverware. This is ten times what they spent in the previous year.
And the excuse? Well, they’ve got themselves some shiny new offices in Millbank so naturally they needed to spend £108,000 on artwork to make it look pretty. examples are £7,500 for a portrait of suffragette Viscoutess Rhonnda, £25,200 for a silver piece by Brett Payne, and £8,500 for a bust of the Duke of Edinburgh.
Apparently we give these wastrels £50,000 every year for their indulgence to add to the 8,000 works of art currently in their collection either on display or – get this – in storage. Would it be unreasonable of me to suggest that they could have used some of the pieces already in storage to kit out their swanky new offices?
Apparently, they justify this splurge by pointing out that they didn’t spend the £50,000 every year and have been saving it up to spend now. Obviously, it never occurred to them to give it back to the taxpayer. That would have been too much like setting an example.
I wonder what Prince Philip would have to say it all. More than 8,500 quids worth of pithy retort I’d bet…