Liz Truss is entitled to claim up to £115,000 and live off of taxpayers money for the rest of her life, despite only being in the role for six weeks. On Wednesday October 20, Liz Truss announced her resignation as Prime Minister after just 44 days in Number 10.
The MP for South West Norfolk becomes the shortest serving Prime Minister by a considerable margin and thanks to the Public Duties Cost Allowance (PDCA) scheme - which was set up following the resignation of Margeret Thatcher - she’ll be allowed to claim back money to fund activities in public life.
National World reports that the scheme has aided many former Prime Ministers including Tony Blair, John Major, and David Cameron, with the latter claiming thousands since he stepped down from office in 2016. Since 2013, former PMs have claimed almost £4m through the allowance. The allowance received by Margeret Thatcher is undocumented as records up to 1997 are no longer held.
What is the PDCA?
In 1991, shortly after the resignation of Margeret Thatcher, John Major started the scheme with the aim to assist “former Prime Ministers still active in public life”.
The £115,000 allowance is a reimbursement of expenses for “necessary office and secretarial costs arising from fulfilling public duties” according to the Cabinet Office. Former PMs can also claim a pension allowance to contribute towards their office staff pension costs, limited to 10% of the maximum allowance.
The scheme was amended in 2011, in order for deputy PM Nick Clegg to claim it but the former Liberal Democrat leader opted out in 2017.
Responding to a written question by Rupa Huq in 2021, then Cabinet Office minister Julia Lopez said the costs for which former PMs can claim include “diary support, Met Police protection on public visits, correspondence, staffing at public visits, support to charitable work, social media platforms and managing and maintaining ex-PMs office”.
How much did each former PM claim last year?
According to the Cabinet Office accounts for 2020/2021, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, and David Cameron all claimed back more than £110,000. Boris Johnson - who left office earlier this year - is eligible to claim but it is not yet known if he has. Here’s a list of all the former Prime Ministers who have claimed on the scheme, and how much they have received:
- John Major - £115,000
- Tony Blair - £115,000
- Gordon Brown - £114,712
- David Cameron - £113,423
- Theresa May £57,832 (still in office)
Who will replace Liz Truss as Prime Minister?
After announcing her immediate resignation as leader of the Conservative party, Truss confirmed she would remain as prime minister until a successor is found. It is expected the vote to replace her will be limited to MPs only and will be completed next week.
Rishi Sunak is the current favourite to take over as leader and prime minister while Truss’ predecessor, Boris Johnson, has also not been ruled out of making a comeback. Chancellor of the Exchequer and two time party leader candidate, Jeremy Hunt, has already ruled himself out of standing.
Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt is the second favourite to take over as Prime Minister with the MP for Portsmouth North seen as a more moderate choice.