Friday, 28 October 2011

Nice (Non) Work if you can get it.

It seems that Ex Prime Ministers have found a gravy train at the expense of the Taxpayer.

Margaret Thatcher who is now 86 is rarely seen in public and has health problems, but this has not stopped her claiming £535,000 in state handouts under the public duties cost allowance available to ex-PMs.

In 2005, doctors advised Lady Thatcher, who served three consecutive terms in office, that she should not make public speeches in the wake of some minor strokes.

But it is claimed  still attends some public functions, including an address by the Pope during his state visit to the UK last year.

In September, she attended a party to mark former Defence Secretary Liam Fox's 50th birthday at his London apartment.

I don't know whether she claimed on her visit to the Popes address and I doubt whether she would have been allowed to claim for Liam Fox's Birthday Party but we clearly need to know what events we have payed for.

The MP's expensive scandal where they claimed for ridiculous expenses like Duck Houses shows that we needed transparency in their expenses claims  This should also apply to ex Prime Ministers making such claims.

The system was set up by John Major in 1991 to reward former incumbents of No 10 for work including answering letters and attending public events.a bit like the Royal Family I suppose but it seems that the ex Prime Ministers  are using very expensive stationary.

A Commons briefing states the allowance is to "assist with additional office costs which they are liable to incur because of their special position in public life". In the past five years, it has cost taxpayers more than £1.7 million to support Baroness Thatcher, her successor Sir John Major and, since 2007, former Labour premier Tony Blair

Blair has claimed just under £273,000 since leaving office in June 2007, including £169,076 in 2008-9 – more than his annual salary when he was in Downing Street. Despite making a fortune in his other exploits ,

John Major , who was Prime Minister 1990 to 1997, has claimed £490,000 in the past five years.

As a republican  I can just about stomach paying for Elizabeth Windsor  and her elder son as she is Head of state. I see no point in paying for the rest of her family to enjoy freebies whilst claiming to represent the UK. I t becomes even worse when we are paying ex Prime Ministers who already receive a generous Pension  for  so called work there appears to little record off.

We need a full breakdown of these claims and and investigation to whether they are justified.

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