Friday, October 28, 2011

Margaret Thatcher claims £500,000 from public purse, or "we're all in it together, part II"

That champion of trying to reduce the nanny state and its benefits system . . . . has now been revealed to have received £535,000 for "ex-Prime Minister duties" over the past five years according to the BBC in news that will shock anyone familiar with her political career. This compares with £490,000 over five years received by John Major and £273,000 received by Tony Blair since he left office.

The BBC reports:

"[. . .] The system was set up by John Major in 1991, after one year in office, to reward former prime ministers for work including answering letters and attending public events. In the past five years, the three former number 10 incumbents have cost the taxpayer in total more than £1.7m in public duty allowances. [. . .]"

It will be interesting to see the government's response to this news. While a case can be made for expenses for former PM's to attend public events, etc., I would expect there to be some review: £1,700,000 could make a big difference in reducing the scale of cuts, an argument we can expect to see from critics of government policy soon.

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