Tony and Cherie Blair Under Pressure Over Leave Payments

Tony and Cherie Blair are coming under pressure over leave payments totaling £76,000 they have claimed on behalf of workers over the past two years during Covid lockdowns.

There’s no suggestion the couple has broken any rules, but some MPs have said they should consider returning the money, as a number of companies have done after discovering they could cover the cost of support staff from their own resources.

Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme instituted by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in March 2020, employers could claim payments to cover up to 80 percent of the salary of staff who would otherwise be laid off because it would prevent them from working normally. of Covid restrictions.

Official documents marked by the Daily mail list payments to “Anthony Charles Blair and Cherie Blair” continued until the settlement ended in September 2021.

A spokesperson for the couple confirmed that a total of £76,000 had been claimed during the scheme’s life in respect of staff employed by a central London office that had been closed due to government instructions to work from home.

But the spokesperson pointed out that the monthly claims were in the lowest band everywhere and much smaller than many of the 940,000 organizations that had access to the scheme.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron told the Mail“The Blairs aren’t the only people on the plan who don’t seem to need it, but have access to it.

“I think there are a lot of people who should take a good look at themselves and ask if they’ve taken advantage of an arrangement they could afford not to use.”

And Tory MP Peter Bone added: “Wealthy individuals and companies have returned money they received during the pandemic because they felt it was morally wrong. The Blairs may be thinking about that.”

The Daily mail The report came amid a series of editorial in the paper opposing the Queen’s award of an Order of Knighthood to the former prime minister, alongside news reports highlighting controversial aspects of his career.

A petition calling for the honor to be revoked has garnered more than 1 million signatures.

The Blairs spokesperson said: “As you know, this scheme provided subsidies to employers so that they could retain and continue to pay staff during the corona-related lockdowns, by laying off workers up to 80 percent of their wages.

“Relating to the months of December (2020) to September (2021), it was just over £35,000, an average of approximately £3,500 per month, involving three staff, based in the Harcourt Street office, who are unable to were to perform their usual duties due to Covid restrictions. Last year the figure was around £41,000 for five staff members.

“They have all received their full pay and will continue to do so regardless of the end of the settlement.”

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