Tony and Cherie Blair claimed nearly £80,000 from the furlough scheme regardless of their big wealth.

The names of the previous prime minister and his spouse – quite than any particular enterprise – seem on an up to date record of beneficiaries of the taxpayer-funded programme.

Arrange in March 2020 to guard jobs in the course of the pandemic, it was phased out final September after 940,000 people and companies had claimed.

A spokesman for the Blairs stated that they had taken £76,000 to cowl wages of workers at Woman Blair’s regulation agency. Cash was paid to them each month the scheme operated.

All companies and people, no matter their monetary state of affairs, have been entitled to say the payouts to cowl the wages of furloughed workers.

Tony and Cherie Blair (pictured together) claimed almost £80,000 from the furlough scheme despite their huge wealth

Tony and Cherie Blair (pictured collectively) claimed nearly £80,000 from the furlough scheme regardless of their big wealth

Nevertheless, hundreds of organisations have since stated they may pay again at the very least a few of the cash after faring higher than anticipated by the pandemic.

Rich people to be criticised over the payouts embody Victoria Beckham. She reportedly reversed a call to furlough 30 workers at her style label after her resolution to use for public cash triggered uproar.

However the Blairs should not thought to have returned the £76,000 regardless of his wealth alone being estimated at something as much as £50million.

The controversy comes simply because the variety of folks demanding that he be stripped of his knighthood handed a million.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, or furlough scheme, was arrange firstly of the Covid disaster in order that employers may cowl 80 per cent of the wages of workers who couldn’t work due to the shutdown. 

Round £69billion has since been spent by taxpayers on funding the scheme, the most important authorities intervention within the UK jobs markets in peacetime.

Covid restrictions have been eased from March final 12 months, with nearly all curbs lifted in July. Nevertheless, the Blairs continued making their claims – averaging £3,500 a month – proper up till September.

Norman Baker, a Liberal Democrat MP, stated: ‘Why cannot a regulation agency work at home? There might be no justification. This seems to be like an try and seize as a lot cash as potential from the general public purse no matter want and it leaves a really bitter style within the mouth.’

Shortly after leaving Downing Street, Sir Tony bought a townhouse in central London now worth around £8.5million. The former PM, 68, and his wife, 67, also paid £4million for a Buckinghamshire stately home (pictured) in 2004. The family also has a large number of buy-to-let properties

Shortly after leaving Downing Avenue, Sir Tony purchased a townhouse in central London now price round £8.5million. The previous PM, 68, and his spouse, 67, additionally paid £4million for a Buckinghamshire stately residence (pictured) in 2004. The household additionally has a lot of buy-to-let properties

Former Liberal Democrat chief Tim Farron stated: ‘The Blairs should not the one folks on the scheme who do not seem to wish it, however have accessed it. 

‘I believe there are lots of people on the market who have to have a protracted arduous take a look at themselves and ask whether or not they took benefit of a scheme that they might afford to not use.’

Tory MP Peter Bone added: ‘Rich people and firms have handed again cash they’ve obtained in the course of the pandemic as a result of they felt it was morally mistaken. It could be that the Blairs will replicate on that.’

Shortly after leaving Downing Avenue, Sir Tony purchased a townhouse in central London now price round £8.5million. The previous PM, 68, and his spouse, 67, additionally paid £4million for a Buckinghamshire stately residence in 2004. The household additionally has a lot of buy-to-let properties.

Their spokesman stated it was mistaken to single out a furlough employer that fell into the bottom banded vary on the record. 

They added: ‘In relation to the December to September months it was simply over £35,000, a mean of round £3,500 a month, in respect of three members of workers who have been unable to fulfil their typical duties due to Covid restrictions.’ 

Bookies face calls to repay hundreds of thousands 

MPs have demanded Ladbrokes pay again £102million it claimed in furlough money after its on-line enterprise boomed within the pandemic.

The bookmakers, a part of FTSE100 big Entain, claimed the sum after lockdowns compelled it to close its 2,850 retailers.

However the pandemic prompted hundreds of thousands to wager on-line, boosting bookmakers’ income.

Ladbrokes claimed £57.5million in 2020, based on Firms’ Home accounts, and £44million in 2021. Entain had income of £175million in 2020 from revenues of £3.6billion.

Betfred claimed between £46.6million and £65.5million from March 2020 and Could 2021. 

Its income rose from £171million to £205million within the 12 months to September 2020. 

Labour MP Carolyn Harris stated: ‘Pandemic assist was designed to assist determined corporations survive – not bolster the pockets of playing fats cats. 

Ladbrokes and Betfred should observe the lead of business rivals and pay again these huge sums.’

Entain stated the scheme protected the roles of 14,000 workers and it was maintaining funds ‘below evaluation’. 

Betfred stated because of the scheme ‘now we have not needed to make a single redundancy because of the pandemic’. 

A million folks protest in opposition to ‘Sir Tony’


The petition to strip Tony Blair of his knighthood handed 1,000,000 signatures.

Livid relations of troopers killed within the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, veterans, victims of terrorist atrocities in Northern Eire and politicians have all lined as much as condemn the choice to nominate the previous Labour prime minister to the Order of the Garter.

The petition was arrange by former soldier Angus Scott, 55, who was offended that Sir Tony – who he stated took Britain to battle utilizing ‘lies and deceit’ – was being honoured.

More than one million people have signed a petition to have Sir Tony Blair's knighthood removed

Multiple million folks have signed a petition to have Sir Tony Blair’s knighthood eliminated 

Mr Scott, a voice coach and Territorial Military veteran, stated he hoped the ballot would possibly get 100 signatures, however final evening admitted he was ‘overwhelmed’ so many others agreed the ex-PM must be stripped of the award. And he known as on Sir Tony to do the ‘honourable’ factor within the face of the backlash and ‘courteously decline’ it.

Mr Scott, a married father-of-three from Dereham in Norfolk, added: ‘I’m overwhelmed and genuinely moved by the extent of assist that this petition has obtained. Each single particular person who signed this petition must be pleased with taking part in their half in sending this highly effective, united message. It has been an honour for me to easily be the messenger.

‘In my opinion, the people who this petition actually represents are the households of those that have suffered the devastating and horrible penalties of the Iraq battle and who clearly nonetheless bear that ache in the present day.

The petition accused Sir Tony of being 'personally responsible for causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicemen', and called for the honour to be removed

The petition accused Sir Tony of being ‘personally accountable for inflicting the demise of numerous harmless, civilian lives and servicemen’, and known as for the honour to be eliminated

‘I hope I am not being presumptuous in personally thanking everybody who signed this petition on their behalf.’

Sir Tony was appointed to the Order of the Garter, the oldest order of chivalry, which is within the Queen’s present. 

That is separate from the New 12 months and Queen’s Birthday Honours, that are managed by the Cupboard Workplace, and since they arrive direct from the monarch can’t be debated in Parliament.

All however one of many 9 prime ministers in workplace in the course of the Queen’s reign, earlier than Sir Tony, have been appointed a Knight of the Garter just a few years after leaving workplace. 

Sir Tony, nonetheless, was compelled to attend for greater than 14 years which sources declare could possibly be because of the Queen’s strained relationship with him throughout his time in energy.

Just one former PM, Edward Heath, needed to wait as lengthy. He was appointed to the Order of Garter in 1992, 18 years after leaving workplace. Winston Churchill and Harold Wilson took knighthoods instantly after departing Downing Avenue whereas Clement Attlee and Margaret Thatcher needed to wait round 5 years.

The one exception, Alec Douglas-House, was awarded the Scottish equal as a substitute – the Order of the Thistle.

REVEALED: Ex-PM secretly informed Bush he’d ‘spin’ Iraq battle to world


Tony Blair secretly promised George Bush he would lead a public relations drive to advertise the Iraq Conflict, it was revealed final evening.

The previous prime minister’s pledge, which was accredited by the then US president, is disclosed in a Downing Avenue memo leaked to the Every day Mail.

It was written by Mr Blair’s overseas coverage chief Sir David Manning someday after Mr Blair’s summit with Mr Bush on the president’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, in April 2002, a 12 months earlier than the battle.

It was not till two years after the battle that proof emerged suggesting Mr Blair had ‘signed in blood’ at Crawford a deal to again Mr Bush’s plan to bomb Iraq.

However proof of Mr Blair’s position in manipulating public opinion was clear a lot earlier, together with his press chief Alastair Campbell clashing with the BBC when it accused the Authorities of ‘sexing up’ the case for battle.

Bereaved military mothers have urged Boris Johnson to release all secret documents relating to Tony Blair’s wars

Bereaved army moms have urged Boris Johnson to launch all secret paperwork referring to Tony Blair’s wars

The struggle was over the infamous ’45-minute file’, which was spun to newspapers as suggesting Saddam Hussein may hit British targets in Cyprus with weapons of mass destruction inside 45 minutes of an order by the Iraqi dictator.

Sir David’s memo additionally exhibits that Mr Blair made the choice to again the battle – nearly a complete 12 months earlier than it started – after Mr Bush blithely informed him he didn’t know who would substitute Saddam and wasn’t bothered about that.

The official inquiry into the Iraq Conflict dominated that failure to plan for the post-conflict section was one of many largest blunders by Mr Bush and Mr Blair.

The memo was leaked because the quantity of people that have signed a petition calling for Sir Tony’s knighthood to be rescinded handed a million.

Sir David is credited with taking part in a serious position in brokering the Iraq Conflict pact between Mr Blair and Mr Bush. He makes it clear his memo – despatched to then overseas secretary Jack Straw’s principal personal secretary Simon McDonald and copied to Mr Blair’s No 10 chief of workers Jonathan Powell – was high secret.

It was ‘exceptionally delicate’ and Mr Blair had ordered that it’s ‘very tightly held’ with ‘no additional copies’ made.

Anti-war protesters are seen massed in Hyde Park during a demonstration against war with Iraq in London on February 15, 2003

Anti-war protesters are seen massed in Hyde Park throughout an illustration in opposition to battle with Iraq in London on February 15, 2003

Sir David, who attended the talks at Crawford with Mr Blair, Mr Bush and Mr Powell, says the prime minister informed the president he may assist with ‘the PR facet’ of his secret plan to bomb Iraq.

In impact, Mr Blair – whose ‘New Labour’ was infamous for its use of PR ‘spinning’ below Mr Campbell – was providing to behave as a worldwide spin physician for Mr Bush, seen by some as much less refined. He informed the president PR was very important to influence sceptical EU leaders and voters of the significance of letting UN inspectors seek for Saddam’s supposed stockpile of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ (WMDs).

The memo says: ‘Bush accepted we wanted to handle the PR with nice care. The PM stated we needed to be cautious how we framed the UN inspectors’ ultimatum to Saddam. We would have liked an accompanying PR technique to handle European public opinion. Bush agreed.

‘If, because the PM anticipated, Saddam didn’t co-operate with UN inspectors, the Europeans would discover it more durable to withstand the logic that we should take motion to take care of an evil regime.’ The previous prime minister additionally informed Mr Bush: ‘We might nonetheless face the query of why we had determined to behave now, what had modified?’

Then Prime Minister Tony Blair (second from right) talks with Major General Richard Shirreff CBE (second from left) as he visits British troops in Basra, southern Iraq, in 2006

Then Prime Minister Tony Blair (second from proper) talks with Main Normal Richard Shirreff CBE (second from left) as he visits British troops in Basra, southern Iraq, in 2006

Mr Blair would say ignoring such dangers may ‘power us to take extra pricey motion later’.

Within the weeks earlier than the battle Mr Blair visited all main EU nations in a bid to influence them to again the battle. However his PR marketing campaign failed and led to acrimony when he accused France of sabotaging his try and receive UN assist.

The memo additionally reveals Mr Bush had scant regard for what would possibly occur after the battle.

He issued a rallying cry to Mr Blair: ‘No matter plan emerged we had to make sure victory. We couldn’t afford to fail.’

However Sir David notes warily that Mr Bush had produced ‘a variety of imponderables’.

He wrote: ‘He did not know who would take Saddam’s place if and after we toppled him.

‘However he did not a lot care. He was engaged on the idea that anybody could be an enchancment.’

Hopes that the autumn of Saddam would convey peace in Iraq haven’t been borne out. It was plunged into bloody strife that continues to at the present time.

Mr Blair and Mr Bush’s hope that they might discover WMDs in Iraq was dashed when Saddam allowed UN inspectors in – they usually discovered nothing.

They determined to go forward with the battle after Downing Avenue produced the later discredited ‘dodgy file’ that claimed Saddam had WMDs.

Sir David hints that as early because the Crawford summit, Mr Blair had doubts about counting on the UN inspectors. He informed Sir David ‘privately’ that Mr Bush realised it was ‘potential Saddam would enable the inspectors in’.

Mr Blair stated if that occurred they might ‘have to regulate our method accordingly’.

He additionally informed Mr Bush to ‘ramp up’ strain on Saddam and if he blocked UN inspectors the US and UK had the best to ‘go in and take care of him’.