Deny Truss the £115k a year taxpayer dividend offered to ex-PMs, say Lib Dems

Liz Truss pictured in happier times with a smile for the photographer.

By Bill Heaney

The no mercy brigade are out with the knives already for Liz Truss, the shortest serving Prime Minister in British political history, saying she should not be entitled to the £115k a year taxpayer dividend which former Prime Ministers are able to claim.

The Liberal Democrats have said today that former Prime Ministers are able to claim a sum of money from the taxpayer to fund office costs, under the Public Duty Costs Allowance (PDCA). The ability to access this sum – currently set at £115k a year – lasts for life.

That means that over the next decade, Truss will be able to claim a maximum total of £1.15 million from the taxpayer, presuming the £115k limit stays fixed. That sum of money could fund almost 4,000 ambulance trips or nearly 30,000 GP appointments.

Liberal Democrat Cabinet Office spokesperson Christine Jardine, RIGHT,  commented:  “Liz Truss will forever be known as the fifty-day Prime Minister. There is no way that she should be permitted to access the same £115k a year for life fund as her recent predecessors – all of whom served for well over two years.

“To make matters worse, Truss’s legacy is an economic disaster – for which the Conservatives are making taxpayers foot the bill. For Truss to walk off into the sunset with a potential six figure dividend, while leaving the British public to suffer, would be unconscionable.

“This huge potential payout will leave a bitter taste in the mouth of the millions of people struggling with spiraling bills and eye-watering mortgage rate rises thanks to the Conservatives’ economic mismanagement.”

It is being pointed out that Liz Truss has currently served 44 days in office, and is due to resign at some point within the next week. The shortest serving Prime Minister of all time, George Canning, served 119 days before he died in 1827.

“The Public Duty Costs Allowance (PDCA)…was introduced to assist former Prime Ministers still active in public life. Payments are made only to meet the actual cost of continuing to fulfill public duties.

The costs are a reimbursement of incurred expenses for necessary office costs and secretarial costs arising from their special position in public life. The allowance is not paid to support private or parliamentary duties. The PDCA is in addition to any constituency office which they may maintain as a Member of Parliament. The PDCA allowance is paid from the Cabinet Office vote and administered by the Cabinet Office Finance Team.

All former Prime Ministers’ are eligible to draw on the PDCA. They cannot claim the allowance if they are serving as Leader of the Opposition.

The PDCA has a financial limit which was originally set to align with the staffing allowance for MPs’ offices. The current limit is set at £115,000 and has remained frozen since 2011. It will remain frozen at this level in 2022-23. The level of the limit will be reviewed by the Prime Minister at the start of a Parliament and annually.”

According to Kings Fund, the average cost of an ambulance trip to A&E is £292 in 2019/20. Presuming the limit stays fixed, over ten years, the maximum amount Liz Truss is able to claim from the taxpayer is £1.15m – equivalent to 3,938 ambulance trips.

The Kings Fund also found that the average cost of a GP appointment in 2020 was £39.23 for the average 9-minute GP appointment. Presuming the limit stays fixed, over ten years, the maximum amount Liz Truss is able to claim from the taxpayer is £1.15m – equivalent to 29314 appointments.

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