Liz Truss urged to decline annual allowance of £115,000

Labour leader Keir Starmer says turning down allowance after just 44 days in office is ‘right thing to do’

Keir Starmer has joined calls for Liz Truss to decline the allowance of up to £115,000 (€132,000) a year she will be entitled to as a former prime minister.

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.”

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

The political leaders’ remarks came 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, 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 per cent 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.”

Ms 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.

University and College Union general secretary Jo Grady supported calls for Ms 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.”

“After all of that, it beggars belief that the prime minister would accept £115,000 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.”

Ms 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.

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