The House of Lords is criticised by some commentators on grounds of cost. The criticisms are often levelled without any benchmark against which to assess value. In a post on my own blog, I have drawn attention to the problems of ascribing a monetary value to the work of the House, not least in terms of the difference it makes to legislation as well as the quality of government. The House may achieve significant amendments, with major implications for sections of society. It may achieve smaller changes with important implications for groups or even an individual. Take a current campaign – to legalise the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. The case has been examined by the all-party group on drugs policy reform, of which I am an officer. Last week, Baroness Meacher raised the issue in the House of a six-year-old boy suffering from extensive epileptic fits who may have a better quality of life if provided with the drug for medicinal purposes. (You can see the exchanges here.) I take this is a small – but, at the human level, important – case. One cannot really put a monetary value on achieving change of this sort. Each Parliament, the number of amendments secured to Government Bills in the Lords will usually run into four figures. Some changes are minor drafting amendments; others can be major. There is no way to cost the changes. If one could, they would put the annual running costs of the House in perspective.