House of Lords
Some members of the House of Lords claimed expenses but did not debateReuters

Tax free allowances worth hundreds of thousands of pounds were paid out in 2015 to peers who did not contribute once to debates in the House of Lords, it has been revealed.

A public record shows that 117 men and women out of 822 signed the register and claimed the £300 daily allowance despite never speaking in the main Lords chamber, The Independent reported.

The tax-free allowance is supposed to be claimed only by peers who take part in the work of the House of Lords, and not by those who simply turn up to use its facilities. It comes amid concerns over how members of the upper chamber spend taxpayers' money.

One such peer the paper names was Lord Borrie, the 84-year-old former head of the Advertising Standards Authority, who claimed £21,300 in six months, although he did not speak in the main chamber all year.

He said that illness kept him away from the Lords during the second half of the year, telling the newspaper: "I have been speaking less, but that doesn't mean I'm not doing anything."

The investigation by The Independent revealed how records for the first half of 2015 also showed dozens of peers visited the Lords but did not claim.

Also, some of those who did not speak in the chamber participate in other ways, either helping to organise House of Lords business or sitting on committees.

However the revelations come at a time when prime minister David Cameron wants to limit the powers of peers, especially after it rejected his tax credit proposals.

The Lords comprises 822 members – making it one of the world's largest legislative bodies.

The Aberdeen North MP Kirsty Blackman, spokeswoman on the House of Lords for the SNP – which does not take any seats in the Lords on principle – told The Independent: "This is not the way to run a modern democracy. It's not the way the country should be run. We have got all these people who are stuck there forever."