Thatcher £3million funeral bill ‘an absolute disgrace’, say Durham miners

Dave Hopper, General Secretary of the Durham Miners Association

Dave Hopper, General Secretary of the Durham Miners Association

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THE bill for Margaret Thatcher’s funeral has been blasted “an absolute disgrace” after it was revealed it cost the taxpayer more than £3 million.

Dave Hopper, General Secretary of Durham Miners’ Association, said the figures are “disgusting”.

Margaret Thatcher

Margaret Thatcher

The direct cost of the ceremony, which he labelled akin to a state funeral, was about £1.2million, it was announced yesterday.

However, taking staff time into account, the bill rises to more than £3million.

Mr Hopper, who celebrated Baroness Thatcher’s death with a party and 20-year-old bottle of malt whiskey in April, said: “They should feel ashamed to spend so much money on someone who agreed with privatisation so much and did so much damage to this country. Her family should have paid for it, especially at a time when peoples’ benefits and welfare are being cut so much, again, and they are suffering.

“I can’t believe the way people drooled over that woman for so long. They thought the funeral was going to be popular, but it was detested in our area.

“She was so popular, they needed all that security there for it.” The price for providing security at the funeral came in at £943,833. However, the “opportunity costs” – staff who could have been somewhere else – were another £2million for police.

The Ministry of Defence has not calculated an equivalent total for its personnel.

“The money spent on police is shocking,” said Mr Hopper, who spoke of his “joy” at the Iron Lady’s death at the 129th Durham Miners Gala earlier this month.

“When the police are getting indicted by everyone at the minute, they have them marching around protecting the funeral of a woman like that.”

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said the ceremonial funeral held in April had been a “fitting tribute to one of our greatest prime ministers”.

Mr Hopper, who has likened the former Tory leader to Hitler in the past, said: “People should have been up in arms about it.

“It makes my blood boil to think about how much money was spent on a woman who damaged our communities so much.”