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Margaret Thatcher funeral: should taxpayers foot the bill?

By Emcfarnon  |  Posted: April 12, 2013

Thatcherblue

Thatcher will receive a ceremonial funeral with military honours similar to those held for the Queen Mother and Princess Diana

Comments (19)

Debate continues to rage over the cost of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, with many Brits angry at having to fork out for a politician who put millions out of work.

The funeral of the former Conservative Prime Minister is due to take place next Wednesday at St Paul’s Cathedral, and according to reports could cost around £10 million.

Lady Thatcher's family is meeting an unspecified amount of the expense, thought to cover transport, flowers and the cremation, with the Government funding the rest, including security.

How much Lady Thatcher’s family will contribute is up to them, Downing St said.

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Number 10 have refused to reveal how much public cash was spent until after the event.

Many are outraged by the costly ceremony. Almost three out of five insist the procession, church service and security operation should be paid for by the former PM’s family, according to a poll taken yesterday by the Mirror newspaper.

Meanwhile only one in five agree the taxpayer should foot the bill for the funeral of such a divisive leader who was reportedly worth £9.5 million when she died. Her son Mark is said to be worth around £20 million.

Foreign secretary William Hague has defended the cost of the service, which will be a ceremonial funeral with military honours similar to those held for the Queen Mother and Princess Diana.

In an interview with the BBC he said it was right to commemorate a "historic" leader.

Hague said Lady Thatcher had won a rebate from Europe in 1984 which had brought in £75bn so far. "I think that puts money in perspective… so I think we can afford to contribute to a funeral," he said.

A ceremonial funeral is one rung down from a state funeral, which is normally reserved for monarchs.

The Queen, David Cameron and Nick Clegg will be among about 2,500 guests.

There was yesterday a bitter backlash against MPs after it emerged those wanting to pay tribute to Margaret Thatcher in the Commons could claim up to £3,750 each in expenses if they were outside the country when parliament was recalled.

Meanwhile there are fears the funeral could be targeted by protesters. Police are believed to be monitoring social media sites to seek out any potential troublemakers, after Thatcher ‘death parties’ erupted across the country.

Anarchists have vowed to ‘re-enact’ the poll tax riots as they plot to wreck Baroness Thatcher’s funeral, the Daily Mail reports. Among them are members of the Black Bloc group, which fought pitched battles with police during student and anti-cuts riots.

Meanwhile protesters in Bristol celebrating the death of the former PM have warned they will return to the streets.

Read more from South Wales Evening Post

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19 comments

  • Hareymary  |  April 16 2013, 2:25PM

    The government is being very cagey and probably dishonest by saying that the police and service personnel would be working anyway, suggesting that there will be no extra costs incurred by using them during this abominable funeral. I very much doubt that any of that is true since, according to a friend who was working in the police force at the time of the miners' strike, the police were paid bonuses worth three times their annual salaries to attend and there was much competition about who would be chosen.

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  • Abominate  |  April 14 2013, 5:12AM

    @philofbudo the information has been reported in several newspapers, but if you download the following pdf from The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (http://tinyurl.com/apkod8f) http://tinyurl.com/d5p85sr and search 'recall' you will see- E: RECALL OF PARLIAMENT 10.13 IPSA will, in the event of a recall of Parliament during Recess, settle claims for any reasonable travel by an MP and his or her spouse/partner or dependants to Westminster or an MP's London Area residence. This includes international travel back to the UK and may include return travel to the foreign location, up to a maximum of £3,750 per MP. I agree we would all claim expenses where we could, but I maintain that any employer making a voluntary recall would be unlikely to pay expenses unless it was of benefit to them to have you return; this, of course is in a private, for profit organisation but we are talking about a recall to parliament, the money will be taxpayers money at a time when we are constantly told 'the country can't afford it'; it is unprecedented, such recall being reserved for national emergencies; the debate could have, as I already stated been postponed until normal return to parliament on Monday and it is such a blatant disregard for the ordinary people of this country who are labouring under sweeping cuts to their benefits and indicative of the Thatcher legacy- more for me- and I wholly support anybody who wishes exercise their democratic right to protest or celebrate in the [legal] manner they see fitting

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  • eu_blues  |  April 12 2013, 9:23PM

    Maybe the banking mafia who seem to run vertually every country in the world would like to pay for the funeral of Mrs. Thatcher, considering that the ruling banking plutocracy have stolen people's money through the centuries. But as usual it falls on us peasents to "cough up" the cash . Let the great unwashed pay for mommies funeral.

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  • philofbudo  |  April 12 2013, 6:04PM

    Just seen the thread about the £3,750 limit. Agree that's ridiculous. Hopefully nobody will have the brass neck to claim anything like that!

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  • philofbudo  |  April 12 2013, 3:41PM

    Abominate: I don't hold any sort of candle for Thatcher and have said on this thread already that I don't think her funeral should be publicly funded. My point about expenses is just about the hypocrisy of people who pretend that they wouldn't claim expenses when they were told they could. Yeah right. The red arrows against my last comment just confirm that people are deluded on this point. I wasn't making a right versus wrong point about expenses, just pointing out human nature. Not sure where the £3,750 figure comes from though. As I understand it, MPs can claim mileage at the HMRC approved rate of 45p per mile, so £3,750 would be an 8,333 mile round trip. I know MPs could be said to lack a sense of direction sometimes, but.....

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  • Abominate  |  April 12 2013, 8:42AM

    philofbudo The £3750 that MPs will be able to claim for one day for attending the 'debate' is more than one year's Jobseeker's allowance (£3692), paid to the scroungers and skivers she not only bequeathed us, but began the process of demonising. If your employer asked you to return to work for one day, but it was voluntary I doubt very much there is another employer in the country who would pay your expenses. This sham 'debate' could have been held on their return to the new Parliamentary session on Monday; there is no precedent for this; it has never been done before. The 'debate', by the way consisted, in the main of Tory MPs kissing her dead ass. If, as William Vague (not a typo) said she saved us so much money, what happens to it when it isn't being squandered on an unnecessary, unwanted and frivolous exercise in obsequiousness? Categorically NO we should not be paying for this and I resent MY taxes being used for such fornication or to further swell the purses of an already rich ruling elite.

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  • simonio  |  April 11 2013, 11:44PM

    What! Hague tells us we can suddenly 'afford it'?? 260,000 using food banks, ATOS terrorizing the sick, 2 TRILLION to the banks, cuts in benefits, housing shortage. Thatcher created chaos and turned this country into a corrupt jungle! She created the basis for scam and rip-off Britain. Her family have 63 Million!!! Am I dreaming or is someone taking the p**s? WAKEY WAKEY Britain!!!

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  • philofbudo  |  April 11 2013, 8:49PM

    @Marmadukelad - I didn't say anything about being paid to go to a funeral so why address that point to me? Re the MPs attending parliament, they are employed by the House of Commons and the Speaker of the house (equivalent of an office manager) recalled the House for an extra session. Sure they didn't have to go but, having been asked to attend, I can't really see why people wouldn't expect their expenses to be covered. If my employer asked me to go to London but said I didn't have to go I would still claim expenses if I went. People who expect anything else are a bit naïve in my view.

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  • Marmadukelad  |  April 11 2013, 8:20PM

    Philofbudo If I was attending a funeral service, I would not expect paying. Who is this employer you are talking about. No one was required to attend Parliament, they did it by choice as many showed by staying away and not attending the service of creeping in the House

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  • Marmadukelad  |  April 11 2013, 8:16PM

    Derby born. So you think those soldiers lining the route will get a bonus do you The money paid for the police guards would not be needed if they gave her a quiet private funeral

    Rate   18
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