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Government Car Service: Former Prime Ministers

Volume 374: debated on Thursday 7 October 1976

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asked Her Majesty's Government:

  • (a) whether some or all ex-Prime Ministers have the use of an official car with a chauffeur;
  • (b) when this arrangement began and for whom;
  • (c) what is the cost per individual and in total;
  • (d) whether this arrangement continues for the life of the beneficiary or, if not, when it terminates; and
  • (e) in what form was Parliamentary authority obtained for this service?
  • All the then former Prime Ministers were in February 1975 offered the use of a Government Car Service car and driver for journeys in and around London. No charge is made for journeys to attend official engagements and on Parliamentary business in their capacity as former Prime Ministers. Use for other purposes is subject to a charge at the current Civil Service mileage rate. Very infrequent use is made of this facility and the cost is correspondingly low. The arrangement is intended to continue indefinitely. It is regarded as an extension of the normal practice of providing cars for use by Ministers, which does not require specific Parliamentary authority.In addition, the personal use of an official car and driver for all journeys was given to Mr. Heath in December 1975, and to Sir Harold Wilson in April 1976. The average annual gross cost of providing each car is £10,600. Use for private or party purposes is again subject to a charge at the Civil Service mileage rate. The arrangement is subject to review in the light of the security situation.