Blair’s £400,000-a-year bill to taxpayers: Multi-millionaire ex-PM enjoys perks and pension

Kirsty Walker – Daily Mail August 24, 2012

The ex-prime minister's six homes. Click to enlarge

Figures have revealed that multi-millionaire Mr Blair is drawing the maximum Prime Ministerial pension – worth about £70,000 a year.

The gold-plated pension comes on top of the £115,000 allowance that Mr Blair received last year to support his ‘public duties’.

Then there is his security team, which is estimated to cost at least £250,000 a year.

The revelation will anger taxpayers at a time of unprecedented public spending cuts and double-dip recession.

The 59-year-old has built up a fortune estimated at more than £30million since leaving Downing Street in 2007.

It was recently reported he earned a total of £20million last year from government advisory work, speeches and consultancy.

On top of this, his company, Tony Blair Associates, is also generating several million pounds’ revenue. But now it has emerged that Mr Blair is also claiming the maximum pension which can be claimed by former Prime Ministers.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the Treasury confirmed that under the Parliamentary and Other Pensions Act 1972 former premiers are entitled to a pension ‘based on one half of salary at the time of leaving office’

This payment is regardless of length of service and former Prime Ministers do not have to make any contributions.

A spokesman said: ‘We can confirm Tony Blair is being paid the pension he is entitled to under this legislation and that the pension was calculated on the salary that was due to a Prime Minister at the time Mr Blair left office.’

The Prime Ministerial element of Mr Blair’s pay was £128,000 when he resigned – meaning he will have been due to receive £64,000 a year.

But increases to account for inflation over the past five years are likely to have taken that figure to about £75,000.

Buying an equivalent pension in the private sector would cost well over £2million.

Both of Mr Blair’s successors, Gordon Brown and David Cameron, have forgone the traditional ex-PM’s perk because it was too generous.

Mr Brown announced he was giving up the pension when he entered Number 10, and reduced his overall salary from £197,000 to £150,000.

Mr Cameron followed suit and now earns £142,500 after all Coalition ministers agreed to a 5 per cent pay cut in recognition of the UK’s financial straits.

Every living ex-Prime Minister is also entitled to an allowance of more than £100,000 for ‘public duties’, such as attending public events. Last year, Mr Blair is believed to have claimed the maximum £115,000.

In addition, the taxpayer also funds the former Prime Minister’s security team, estimated to cost £250,000 a year. The elite protection squad travels with Mr Blair on luxury holidays and international business trips.

Since he left Downing Street, the former Prime Minister’s financial affairs have been shrouded in mystery.

Mr Blair insists that he pays 50 per cent of income tax on all his earnings and that the money is ploughed back into philanthropic ventures. In an interview last year, he said: ‘If what I was interested in doing was making money I could make a lot more.’

Jonathan Isaby, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Taxpayers will be astounded at the degree to which Tony Blair is still drawing on the public purse.

‘When former Prime Ministers are leaving office in their prime and earning millions as they strut the world stage, they should be thinking of ways to ease the burden they place on taxpayers.’

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