Repairs to ministers' homes cost £500,000

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Taxpayers have picked up a bill of more than £500,000 for repairs and maintenance to the official residences of ministers since Labour came to power.

Taxpayers have picked up a bill of more than £500,000 for repairs and maintenance to the official residences of ministers since Labour came to power.

The Tories criticised John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, yesterday for spending £13,088 on new carpets as part of a £99,936 refurbishment of his flat at Admiralty House in Whitehall.

In written Commons replies, Tony Blair disclosed that a total of £503,813 has been spent on repairs and maintenance since 1997 on the homes provided for ministers.

Admiralty House, which also provides homes for Margaret Beckett, the Commons leader, and Mo Mowlam, the Cabinet Office Minister, has had £327,204 spent on maintenance in the past three years. The figure excludes £341,000 spent on the roof, windows and external features of the Grade 1 listed building, which was agreed with English Heritage.

The flat above Number 11 Downing Street, which is occupied by the Blairs, has had a repair bill of £96,996. Some £13,482 has been spent on the Number 10 flat, which the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, vacated after the birth of Leo Blair.

A further £47,164 has been spent at the Carlton Gardens home of the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, and £19,507 at Government House, Pimlico, occupied by David Blunkett, the Secretary of State for Education.

Archie Norman, the Deputy Prime Minister's Tory shadow, said: "Mr Prescott has preached about the lifestyle of others in the past. What with his two Jags and a Rover, four houses and now his £13,000 carpet, this seems to be a case of 'Do as I say, not do as I do'."

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