FORTY Scottish peers raked in an “eye-watering” £960,000 in daily allowances and expenses during the pandemic, we can reveal.

The National analysed the amount of cash claimed between April 2020 and July 2021 by members of the House of Lords who are registered as living in Scotland.

Members of the Lords do not take a salary but can claim £323 per day if attending in person or £162 if they join proceedings remotely.

There are currently 785 peers sitting in the House of Lords, many of whom have taken Scottish titles or are Scottish but live in England, such as Baroness Mone. However, this analysis focuses on those who are specifically noted as living in Scotland in expenses documentation.

During the 16-month period under analysis, the 40 peers claimed £962,526 in daily allowances and expenses. Of this, £815,048 was claimed in daily allowances and £147,478 in travel expenses and other associated costs, such as postage.

SNP MP Pete Wishart said the claims are “grotesque” for unelected parliamentarians with “no democratic legitimacy”.

READ MORE: House of Lords 'good business' for Scottish Labour as peers rake in cash

The amount claimed by peers varies, as some choose not to claim a daily allowance if they attend. For example, Lord Smith of Kelvin attended the House for 31 days during the period but did not claim for either expenses or the allowance, and 10 peers did not claim any expenses.

Lord McFall of Alcluith, the Lord Speaker, from Dumbarton, also did not claim a daily allowance but had the second-highest expenses claim at £12,251.

Lord Foulkes of Cumnock logged 216 days of attendance at the Lords during the period analysed, and topped the list for the biggest claim of combined allowance and expenses with £64,643, and for the highest daily allowance alone at £55,936.

Lord Purvis of Tweed, a LibDem from the Scottish Borders, had the second-highest combined claim at £63,146, and the highest expenses claim, £13,702, after attending for 192 days. Former Labour first minister Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale came third with £62,157 in combined allowance and expenses, after attending the house for 193 days.

Baroness Goldie (below), minister of state at the Ministry of Defence and from Renfrewshire, claimed £44,878 in expenses and allowance for 132 days.

The National:

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean, based in Stirling, claimed £33,296 during the analysis period, £3052 of which came from travel expenses, for 151 days. Baron McInnes of Kilwinning, director of the Scottish Tory Party and No 10’s current adviser on Scotland, attended for 104 days and claimed £7645, £193 of which was expenses.

Wishart described the figures as “eye-watering” for unelected parliamentarians, saying: “The House of Lords is composed and compiled of donors, cronies and placement, people who have been given a place there because they’ve either got to get out of the way for a new face in the constituency or are rewarded for years of service. Scotland doesn’t want and doesn’t need members of the House of Lords.”

Wishart joked that the SNP would be prepared to “donate” Scottish peers as a gift to the English Parliament in the event of independence.

Asked if he believed there should be more transparency on what members of the Lords representing Scotland are doing in the chamber, Wishart added: “Nobody has a clue who these people are, they’ve got no idea why they’ve ended up in a place to amend laws of the country.

“These people are legislators, they’re responsible for the construction of the laws that we live by.

Wishart said the amount claimed back by just 40 lords was “grotesque”.

He said: “No-one knows who many of them are, no-one votes for them. If you ever met them in the street you would have no idea who these people were.

“This is why the House of Lords is the most bizarre and corrupt instutition we have in the world, because of this lack of transparency and the fact we cannot remove these people even if we did know who they were.”

READ MORE: Almost £15m in public cash spent on unelected peers last year

A House of Lords spokesperson said: “Unlike MPs, members of the House of Lords are not paid a salary. The attendance allowance is the only support they receive for costs associated with attending the House. For members who live in Scotland, this will include paying for overnight accommodation.

“Your own calculations suggest the average Scottish member claimed around £18,500 in allowances over 18 months. To put that in context, MPs who live outside of London can claim £23,000 a year for accommodation on top of their salary.

“The House of Lords is a busy and effective revising Chamber and it is entirely appropriate that members from every part of the UK can contribute to its work and be supported to cover the costs of doing so.”

Expenses claims by Lords are “around five months in arrears” to allow for them to be processed, the spokesman confirmed.