If taxpayers thought the £900,000 paint job on Boris’s new official government jet was expensive, look away now. In March it was reported that in addition to the repainted RAF Voyager, the government had acquired a second “Brexit jet” – this time an Airbus A321. As well as the paintwork a government spokesperson told the Independent it represented “value for money”. About that…
It’s now emerged the so-called “value for money” aircraft was worth a £75 million contract for just two years of chartering. Yesterday Andy Netherwood spotted the Cabinet Office had amended an existing contract to bury the extortionate cost. He points out the cost of the original VIP Voyager was to supposedly save on having to charter a whole private plane.
The contract specifies that the aircraft “cannot be used by any non-HMG customers i.e. the aircraft is dedicated for HMG approved use only” i.e. a lot of pricey aircraft hanging around not flying. What happened to the government’s previous claims of reduced travel spend?
UPDATE: The Taxpayer’s Alliance says “Waste is soaring under this government”:
“Green-fingered ministers continue to lecture us on emissions while frittering away millions on luxury travel.
“The government should fly the flag for fiscal responsibility by putting an end to wasteful spending like this.”
UPDATE II: The Cabinet Office get in touch to clarify the plane will actually cost an absolute maximum of £75 million over five years, not two. So it is value for money then…