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The work of the House of Lords
Functions
In the financial year 2011­2012 the House of Lords cost £108.8 million. This
equates to approximately £3.61 per taxpayer.
So, what do the Lords do to justify that money?
There are three main functions of the House of Lords. If you can, jot them down
from memory...…read more

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The work of the House of Lords
Functions
The functions of the House of Lords are:
1To make laws.
2To scrutinise the executive and hold it to account.
3To provide a source of specialist knowledge and expertise.…read more

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The work of the House of Lords
Making laws
A bill may begin in the House of Commons or the House of Lords. If a bill originates
in the Commons, once it has passed its third reading it is passed to the House of
Lords where:
It is discussed by the whole house.
It is examined by a committee which writes a report suggesting amendments.
Amendments are voted on by the whole house.
The amended bill is discussed by the whole house (Third Reading).
The amended bill is then sent back to the House of Commons, which discusses the
amendments and decides whether to accept them.
Example: The Lords made 374 amendments to the Health and Social Care Bill. These
were all agreed by the Commons, and the bill received royal assent in 2012.…read more

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The work of the House of Lords
Making laws
What if the two houses disagree?
If the Commons does not accept the amendments, or if it amends them further, the
bill is sent back to the Lords. It may go back and forth between the houses until
agreement is reached. This is called `parliamentary ping-pong' ­ see here for an
example, the 2005 Prevention of Terrorism Bill.
If the Lords refuses to agree with the Commons, the Commons can use the 1949
Parliament Act to force the bill through. This allows the Lords to delay a bill by
1year, but no longer. It is used rarely: a recent example was the Hunting Act
(2004).
The Lords cannot delay a money bill.…read more

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The work of the House of Lords
Scrutinising the executive
The House of Lords scrutinises the executive (government) in the following ways:
Questions Peers put questions to a government spokesperson at the start of the
day, in a 30-minute question-time session.
Debates Peers debate specific issues and at the end of each debate a government
minister responds to the matters raised.
Example: In 2011 the Lords debated the Libya crisis.
Select committees These are set up to consider areas of public policy. Some are
fairly quick enquiries with a narrow focus, others are broader so take longer. A
report of their findings is debated in the House of Lords and responded to by the
government.…read more

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