We have also seen similar claims discussed in different ways by the media. On October 21, a tweet from Sky News said: “Liz Truss asked to forgo £115,000 lifetime salary”, and the payment was originally described as a salary of linked article (although it was changed to “contribution” shortly after Full Fact contacted Sky News).
On ITV This morning [10:10] program 17 October former MP Gyles Brandreth said “if Liz Truss leaves after five weeks she has £115,000 for life”.
And a tweet from the Guardian on 21 October described it as a “£115,000 annual contribution”.
It is true that all ex-prime ministers are entitled to claim up to £115,000 a year for expenses they incur in carrying out public duties in connection with being a former prime minister. But it is not accurate to describe this as a “salary” or a “pension”, and to say that former prime ministers simply “get” this money may fail to make this distinction clear.
In practice, most former prime ministers claim either the total allowed or close to the total.
In 2020/21, which is the latest year for which we have accounts, Sir John Major, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron all claimed more than £110,000, while Theresa May claimed around £58,000.
The system is called Cost reimbursement for public service (PDCA). We have written about it before in a fact-check on ministers’ severance pay.
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What is PDCA?
The guidance states: “Payments are made only to cover the actual cost of continuing to carry out public duties.
“The costs are a compensation for expenses incurred for necessary office and secretarial expenses as a result of their special position in public life. The grant is not paid to support private or parliamentary duties. The PDCA is in addition to any constituency office they may hold as an MP.”
It is not clear from the guidance exactly what type of public data and what type of expenses are reimbursed by the PDCA each year, although most former prime ministers claim the full amount, or close to it, in accounts published every year. Data on total payments under the PDCA to all former Prime Ministers has also been previously published.
IN answer to a parliamentary question last year, Julia Lopez, then Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office, said: “The costs are a reimbursement of expenses incurred for necessary office and secretarial costs.
“These costs may include diary support, met police protection on public visits, correspondence, staff on public visits, charity work support, social media platforms and managing and maintaining the ex-PM’s office (staff, salary, admin).”
Former Prime Ministers can also claim an additional amount to contribute to their personal pension costs. This is limited to a maximum of 10% of the PDCA.
Is Liz Truss eligible to receive it?
We have seen some speculation on social media that the payment may only be available to people who have been Prime Minister for at least two months, and therefore Mrs Truss would not be eligible.
We can find no evidence to support this. The guidance document on the government’s website makes no mention of a minimum term in office, saying: “All former Prime Ministers are eligible to draw on PDCA.”
Full Fact contacted the Cabinet Office, which confirmed that “all former Prime Ministers” are eligible for PDCA.
We are continuing to investigate in more detail what support former Prime Ministers are entitled to and will update this article in due course.
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