Margaret Thatcher reimbursed for more than £500K in expenses by UK taxpayers

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."

Margaret Thatcher's £500,000 expenses claim revealed

(Image: Margaret Thatcher, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from bixentro's photostream)


    1. I’d like to see some system where what entitlements they get are limited for 5-10 years after they leave office then a independent board evaluates the long term good a politician did and their entitlements are based off that. Try and stop at least some of the reactionary politics to score momentary increases in opinion polls

    2. The drivers and the passengers  in the first class carriage for the last 30 years have been happily enjoying the ride without noticing (or should that be caring?) that the rest of the train is a wreck behind them…

      Would rather be paying their Spitting Image puppets the money!

  1. The real problem is that the UK uses these has-beens as go betweens, salesmen and celebrity lobbyists in foreign countries. I mean seriously? Prince Andrew shilling UK made weapons to former Warsaw Pact and Arab countries? Can you conceive of anyone LESS qualified?

    1. its the same for ex german chancellors (schroeder at gasprom) as they usually go on to use their prior political relationships to get jobs in influential managerial positions of international businesses. they are set for life anyway, no need to claim further expenses off the taxpayer. its outrageous. 

    2. > Can you conceive of anyone LESS qualified?

      I certainly can!  How about when Mrs Thatcher handed one of the biggest arms deals of all time to her playboy son.  This was a £20bn deal to supply fighter bombers and ships to the Saudis back in 1985; his commission was in the 10s of millions.

      Official perks such as the ones mentioned in this article are certainly irritating to hear about, but they are really just a distraction from the main event, so to speak.

    3. Well considering Prince Andrew went through the Britannia Royal Navy College, flew missions in the Falkands war then spent over 20 years as a naval officer, plus throw in the connections being royalty inevitably brings I’m sure the UK government could find plenty of people less qualified to sling their wares

      1. Yes, Mark Thatcher’s history is less impressive.  He left school (his nickname was apparently “Thickie”) with minimal qualifications and then failed his accountancy exams 3 times.  His dream was to be a racing driver, so he set up a horribly unsuccessful racing company before then getting lost in the desert during the Paris-Dakar rally which he forgot to actually prepare for.  Still, that week while he was missing was one of our happiest national episodes of Schadenfreude.

  2. What is “she” spending this money on? The parentheses are because, as I understand, she’s in the grip of dementia, so I presume she’s not really doing much of anything through her own volition anymore. So the money would be for, what, private nurses? or to line the wallets of her other staff?

  3. Guys, guys, you HAVE to pay them this much and give them nice golden parachutes, in order to stay competitive!  How would you have liked it if Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher went off to be politicians in France?  Or Spain? 

  4. It’s a shame that people can set the politics aside on issues like this.

    Surely it’s obvious that a former Prime Minister encounters many challenges upon leaving office, not least the massive potential threat to their personal security – for life.  Given this, is it really fair that after giving eleven years of non-stop service that we just throw these people to the wolves?

    1. I don’t believe that the 500K is spent on security (police details are free). This is for additional expenses; the FA mentions that some PMs have expensed items from Avon and Debenham’s, which are not where most of us source our bodyguards.

      1. Cory, one of us now really has to write a story in which The Avon Lady rings your doorbell to offer a bodyguard service.  I love it.

        Of course, if you write it, it’ll get published…

    2. If you can detail one actual threat to a UK PM after they left office — presumably a foiled threat like that would be in all the papers — then I’ll concede the point.

      But, either way, half a million quid buys a HELL of a lot of protection for an infirm woman who doesn’t get out much.

    3. Yes, throw her to the wolves, then we can install the dancefloor on her grave.  Maybe another right-wing dictator will look after her like she looked after Pinochet.

  5. These welfare queens must be stopped.
    “Socialism for the rich and cruel capitalism for everyone else.”

  6. When I somehow manage to sack a politician, I don’t expect to have to finance their bragging and jet-setting for the rest of their natural lives.  Apparently the consequences of elections are widely exaggerated.  In these austere times, perhaps we could consider reducing their allowance to a bike and a pointed set of directions?

    In other news, Disqus rejects any and all registration passwords I offer it, complaining that none of them are alphanumeric.  Apparently all the hard things I have heard about this service pale before the mad idiot fluting of its starkly ineffable, its abominably and blasphemously useless abreality!

  7. I seem to recall someone called Margaret Thatcher raging against state subsidies of past-their-sell-by-date, clapped-out, uncompetitive institutions.

    Clearly what’s good enough for our steel, shipbuilding, car, mining, rail, aircraft, nuclear, oil and coal industries should be good enough for ex-prime ministers. Namely flogging them off to foreigners to be broken up for spare parts.

  8. What is the money going to? The linked article doesn’t seem to say. Thatcher is an ill shut-in, and it’s hard to imagine how she’d rack up these kind of expenses.

    That said, there are some post-government expenses I’d support. If someone’s been the head of government, obviously it may be desirable to provide them with extra security, and some sort of secretarial staff to assist them with engagements and with preparing their memoirs. They remain a public figure, someone who means something to the nation and has something to say about their time leading it.

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