To Maggie, Number 10 was an office not a status symbol

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Files released by the National Archives under the 30-year rule show that Margaret Thatcher was incensed by what she considered unacceptable extravagance on renovating the flat at Number 10.

Newspapers have been quick to compare her attitude with that of David Cameron, who quickly blew his £30,000 annual refurbishment grant and even topped it up with a few quid of his own.

But it is a question of attitude rather than simple profligacy. The Camerons regard their Downing Street abode as something of a status symbol; a useful perk upon which they have the right to lavish a lot of public money.

To Margaret Thatcher it was a workplace – which just happened to have a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.

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