Thursday, 21 June 2012 4:30 PM
The substantial financial earnings made by individual Church of England Bishops from their privileged place within the House of Lords have come under scrutiny, leading to further calls from the British Humanist Association (BHA) for their removal as a part of the impending reforms to the upper chamber.
Research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported in the Independent and Daily Telegraph has revealed the large sums of money taken by some of the 26 Church of England Bishops in their role as ‘Lords Spiritual’. Bishops are entitled to a daily rate to cover their living and accommodation costs without providing receipts, and also claim for additional travel expenses.
Whilst some Bishops have made no claims, others have drawn significant amounts, with one Bishop earning £27,600 in attendance allowances and a further £7,309 in travel expenses for his 97 days in the Lords from October 2010 to November 2011.
Commenting on the reports, BHA Chief Executive Andrew Copson said:
"Church of England Bishops acquire their right to sit in our parliament and claim public money for their expenses solely by virtue of their religion, their gender and their position in the hierarchy of one particular denomination of one particular Church. They are unaccountable and unrepresentative of our diverse, and largely non-religious, society and yet it is the millions of non-Anglican taxpayers who are paying for their expenses. Lords reform should end this medieval hangover of automatic reserved places for Bishops in our legislature."
For further comment or information contact Pavan Dhaliwal, Head of Public Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0773 843 5059
Holy Redundant! Help the campaign to remove Bishops from Parliament
Read the reports in the Independent and Telegraph
The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of ethically concerned, non-religious people in the UK. It is the largest organisation in the UK campaigning for an end to religious privilege and to discrimination based on religion or belief, and for a secular state.