For the chaotic 44 days Liz Truss spent in office, she is now eligible to collect an annual £115,000 ($128,000) allowance from the U.K. government for the rest of her life.
The money for Truss will come from the country’s Public Duty Costs Allowance scheme, which allows anyone who served as Prime Minister, no matter the duration, to claim the payment to cover the costs arising from their “special position in public life.”
The scheme, established in 1991 in the wake of Margaret Thatcher’s resignation, is meant to assist an ex-Prime Minister if they are “still active in public life.”
Other Prime Ministers who have claimed the allowance in the last year include John Major (Prime Minister from 1990 to 1997), Tony Blair (1997 to 2007), Gordon Brown (2007 to 2010), and David Cameron (2010 to 2016).
Liz Truss (2022 to 2022) is only the sixth Prime Minister to become eligible for this allowance.
What can it be used for?
The allowance is not a direct wage but a stipend the former Prime Minister can use to pay for travel, staff, and offices for any official visits made after their time of leadership.
Costs can 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.
Former Prime Ministers are not allowed to use the allowance to pay for things in their private life or for their work in government if they remain as a Member of Parliament following their resignation.
Calls to decline allowance
However, as the country experiences record-high inflation, rising mortgage payments, and falling pensions — all made worse by an economic crisis spurred by decisions made by Truss’s government — the possibility of Truss claiming the payments has left a bad taste in some people’s mouths.
Opposition leader Kier Starmer of the Labour Party joined calls for Truss to decline the payments, saying that her six-week stint in office should not make her eligible for the allowance.
“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,” Starmer said on ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Friday.
Starmer’s words echoed those of Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, who 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.”