Blair approves Â£18,000 allowance for ministers' second homes
Tony Blair has cleared the way for his ministers to receive an extra £18,000 a year to help them keep a second home.
The perk follows pressure from some government ministers who say that they are struggling to make ends meet on annual salaries of up to £128,000. They want to be able to claim the same benefit claimed by backbench MPs serving constituencies outside inner London, which is intended to help them keep a home in the capital.
MPs lose the right to the Additional Costs Allowance, which is currently worth up to £20,333, when they join the Government. Instead they can claim only the London Supplementary Allowance, amounting to a far less generous £1,574.
The Prime Minister has asked the Senior Salaries Review Body to approve changing the rules as part of its three-year review of MPs' pay packages.
The most senior member of the Government to benefit from the change would be Gordon Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Those living in grace-and-favour accommodation, such as Mr Blair himself and John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, are not entitled to any help with London housing costs.
Mr Brown, however, has chosen to live in neither of his official residences, preferring his own one-bedroom flat in Westminster to a flat in Downing Street.
The arrival of their son last October may prompt the Chancellor and his wife, Sarah Macaulay, to start looking for a larger London home. With interest rates expected to increase this year, raising the cost of mortgages, a generous taxpayer-funded housing allowance is sure to help.
The SSRB will decide whether ministers should receive up to £18,000 a year extra in late spring. However, the review body is warning that MPs should not expect the same level of salary increases they have enjoyed in the past.
MPs' highly controversial vote in favour of a 25 per cent increase in parliamentary pensions last year will be taken into account when the SSRB sets the new rates, a spokesman said.
The SSRB is also to review the Office Cost Allowance, the money paid to MPs to help them equip and staff their offices. It will decide whether MPs should continue to be able to claim for computer and other IT equipment or whether this should be centrally provided.
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
- 4 Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
- 5 Grumpy Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' rediscovered after 35 years
King Salman: Just five days in, Saudi Arabia's new king has already overseen a beheading
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...
£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...