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 Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
- 2 Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
- 4 Alex Salmond: 'The rocks would melt with the sun before I'd ever set foot in the House of Lords'
- 5 Ice Bucket Challenge: US firefighter Tony Grider dies after participating in charity craze near power lines
'The Fappening': Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Stamford Hill council removes 'unacceptable' posters telling women which side of the road to walk down
Kim Kardashian 'nude pictures' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence 'The Fappening' scandal
The Fappening: Jennifer Lawrence leaked 4Chan sex video branded 'fake' by forum users
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...