FORMER prime minister Tony Blair’s institute is set to make $140 million in annual revenues after providing advice to more than 40 governments around the world.

Speaking to The Financial Times, Blair revealed that the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change has more than tripled its revenues since 2020.

Staff numbers are also set to quadruple since the on-set of the pandemic, with Blair stating that by the end of 2024 they are likely to employ around 1000 people.

Among recent hires is former Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin, who assists in providing advice to governments across the globe, which is how the institute makes most of its money.

However, Blair himself is still the first point of contact for many world leaders.

The institute currently operates in Africa, the Middle East and south-east Asia.

The National: Former Finnish prime minister Sanna MarinFormer Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin


Blair owns the institute but does not receive a salary. Instead, the 70-year-old makes his money via private work, speeches and through his role as chair of JPMorgan’s international council.

The work of the institute has been criticised, particularly over its involvement in Saudi Arabia.

Indeed, it continues to provide advice to crown prince Mohammed bin Salman despite his alleged involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

“A few years ago people challenged us over working in Saudi Arabia,” said Blair.

“But I have absolutely no doubt that the changes they are making there are of enormous importance socially and economically, in terms of the country and the region and in terms of broader security.”

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During the interview, Blair was asked for his thoughts on Keir Starmer’s recent praise of Margaret Thatcher and the resulting backlash.

In a similar vein to Starmer, Blair sketched out how Labour’s policies towards business should follow much the same trajectory as introduced by Thatcher.

“The advantage that Britain had when you had Margaret Thatcher, John Major and then myself was that you had almost 30 years of government with a certain core of policy around the business sector that wasn’t very different,” he said. 

“Now, my government did lots of things in the public realm and implemented social change and all the rest, but we didn’t disturb the basic emphasis of enterprise that Thatcher introduced.”

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“He [Starmer] was saying something that is pretty obvious — she knew where she was going.”

When asked if he would take up a position in a future Starmer cabinet as David Cameron has done in Rishi Sunak’s government, Blair placed the onus on the current Labour leader.

He saidL “First of all, I don’t think he would be very interested in doing that.”

“Secondly, I’m happy building the institute and doing the work I’m doing.”