David Cameron has claimed more than £300,000 of taxpayer money since 2015, to help him “fulfil public duties” despite rarely appearing publicly in that time.
Former Prime Ministers are cashing in on up to £115,000 per year to help them “with the costs of continuing to fulfil duties associated with their previous position in public life” through a scheme set up after the resignation of Margaret Thatcher.
A NationalWorld analysis of accounts published by the Cabinet Office shows that former PMs have claimed more than £2.5million in expenses through the Public Duty Cost Allowance (PDCA), since 2015.
Which former PMs have claimed the most?
Sir John Major has claimed the most in that time, at £574,935 plus staff pension contributions, closely followed by Tony Blair at £574,838 and Gordon Brown at £573,542.
David Cameron, who has recently come under fire for his lobbying attempts on behalf of now-defunct Greensill Capital, has claimed £383,641 since resigning as prime minister in mid 2016.
While the payment is generally reserved for former prime ministers, an exception was made for Sir Nick Clegg, who served as deputy prime minister in the coalition government between 2010-2015.
Sir Nick ceased his claim in 2019-2020, having already banked £444,775 through the PDCA scheme.
The most recent former PM, Theresa May, has so far claimed at least £34,386 through the scheme, and likely more, as accounts for the first full year in which she was eligible (2020-2021) are yet to be published.
While the total amount claimed by each PM aligns with the amount of time they’ve been in office, Sir John, Mr Blair and Mr Brown have all consistently claimed almost the maximum amount through the scheme since 2015.
The scheme allows former prime ministers to claim back up to £115,000 per year toward the costs of running their offices, as well as a contribution toward their staff pensions costs.
What is the Public Duty Cost Allowance?
According to a government briefing note, the PDCA was introduced “to assist former Prime Ministers, still active in public life”.
It states: “Payments are made only to meet the actual cost of continuing to fulfil 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 an MP.”
The PDCA scheme was set up by the former senior civil servant Sir Robin Butler in 1991, shortly after Mrs Thatcher announced her resignation.