Margaret Thatcher leads Britain's former prime-ministers in claiming expenses back from the taxpayer. She's been reimbursed more than £500,000 in the past five years.
Figures revealed by the Cabinet Office minister, Francis Maude, in response to a written parliamentary question by the Conservative MP Philip Hollobone, show that Thatcher has received £535,000 from the state since 2006, and John Major, who set up the allowance in 1991, has received £490,000. Tony Blair has claimed since 2007 and received £273,000. The figures reveal he received £169,076 in 2008-9, more than his salary in office.
The public duties cost allowance is administered by the Cabinet Office and claims must be supported by documentary evidence. Thatcher, who has suffered ill health which limits her engagements, still attends some public events, including an address by the Pope in the UK. According to figures released last year the maximum allowance claimable doubled from £47,568 in 1997-98 to £100,205 in 2008-9. Defending the allowance's value for money, Maude said: "The public duties cost allowance is kept under review."