In these times of “austerity” it is nice to know that our Christian elite, are being cushioned from the ravishes of the “deficit reduction” plan. In that unelected club for the privileged, “The House of Lords” it seems that there are provisions for 26 “Lords Spiritual” (Bishops) to take their place in that hallowed hall. Of course we couldn't expect them to turn up and give “spiritual leadership” for nothing. These holy men can, and lots do, claim up to £27,000 a year for blessing the place with their presence. On top of that they can claim up to £300 a day for hotel and living allowance plus travel expenses. And guess what, they don't have to produce receipts.
It is a nice little sideline when you already have a job, Bishops live rent free in their diocese, and along with the provision of a free official car, claiming for entertaining guests, heating and lighting, cleaners and gardeners, they can draw on extra allowances to run their fine homes from the Church Commissioners.
During the year from October 2010 to November 2011:
* The Bishop of Chester attended the House on 97 days, claiming £27,600 in attendance allowances and £7,309 in travel expenses.
* The Bishop of Liverpool attended on 60 days, claiming £15,600 for attendance and £4,220 in expenses.
* Other significant claimers included the Bishop of Exeter (£11,550), the Bishop of Leicester (£8,850) and the Bishop of Wakefield (£10,650).
By the way, the little bunch of Church Commissioners could be called the Wall St. of the Church, as they manage the Church of England's £5billion property and shares portfolio. As well as being firmly embedded in the seat of power in this country, the Church is also a big player in the capitalist world.