Margaret Thatcher funeral: should taxpayers foot the bill?
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.
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.