Starmer joins calls for Truss to decline ex-PMs’ £115,000 annual grant

Not to mention the “resignation honours”.

Did she ever pass her probation period? – Owl

Keir Starmer has joined calls for Liz Truss to decline the allowance of up to £115,000 a year she will be entitled to as a former prime minister.

Ben Quinn 

The Labour leader told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Friday: “She should turn it down. I think that’s the right thing to do. She’s done 44 days in office, she’s not really entitled to it, she should turn it down and not take it.”

The Liberal Democrat leader, Ed Davey, also said she should turn down the allowance.

The political leaders’ remarks come after a trade union representing civil servants hit out at the entitlement to the perk amid a mounting squeeze on public services and the cost of living crisis.

Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said: “At a time when one in five civil servants are using food banks and 35% have skipped meals because they have no food, it’s grotesque that Liz Truss can walk away with what is effectively a £115,000 bonus.

“The next prime minister must give civil servants, who work hard on essential services, an above-inflation pay rise.”

Truss can claim the funding under the public duty costs allowance (PDCA), which was introduced by the then cabinet secretary, Sir Robin Butler, after Margaret Thatcher’s resignation. Government guidance states that the PDCA was introduced to assist former prime ministers still active in public life.

The former prime ministers are entitled to claim for necessary office and secretarial costs arising from their special position in public life. In 2020-21, John Major and Tony Blair claimed the maximum allowance; Gordon Brown claimed £114,712; David Cameron claimed £113,423 and Theresa May £57,832.

Mike Clancy, General Secretary of Prospect, whose membership includes large numbers of civil servants, said: “The government are in a chaotic merry go round of ministers, with huge redundancy costs for the taxpayer. At the same time, they want to cut public servants pay in real terms and erode their redundancy conditions. It’s one rule for ministers another for hard working public servants. This is wrong.”

Jo Grady, the general secretary of the University and College Union, also joined calls for Truss to give up the allowance. She said: “Millions of public sector workers, including those who transform lives in education, are in the grips of a devastating cost of living crisis. Low pay leaves thousands upon thousands skipping meals and restricting energy use.

“They will be appalled to see the soon to be former prime minister rewarded for such catastrophic failings. She should do the right thing and give up the money.”

Steven Littlewood, the assistant general secretary of the FDA, which represents senior civil servants, said: “The hypocrisy is astounding. This year, the government has offered a real-terms pay cut and once again tried to attack the redundancy terms of the civil servants who are keeping this country running while we move from one prime minister to another.

“After all of that, it beggars belief that the prime minister would accept £115k a year for just six weeks in the job.”

Joe Davies, a local organiser in Brixton with the Don’t Pay group, which is demanding a reduction in bills, said: “It’s a slap in the face even as a name. We’re picking up the tab for her ‘public duty’ from our pockets, our stomachs and in our heating bills this winter.”

Truss’s pension will not receive any extra boost from her time in Downing Street. Since 2013, prime ministers have been part of the regular ministerial pension scheme, paying in a certain proportion of their salary while the government also contributes.

Blair is understood to have been the last prime minister to avail of a special prime minister’s pension. Brown and Cameron decided to forgo the scheme and join the general scheme, before doing so became law in 2013.

There is also a severance payment, which amounts to a one-off payment of 25% of the annual salary for the post that ministers have left. For prime ministers it is about £19,000 (25% of £79,000 annual salary).