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Fri, 14 August 2020

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Government to spend £900k giving Boris Johnson’s official plane a ‘Union Jack makeover’

Government to spend £900k giving Boris Johnson’s official plane a ‘Union Jack makeover’

The plane used by the PM is to get a £900,000 makeover (PA)

3 min read

The Government is spending almost £1million to re-paint Boris Johnson’s official plane red, white and blue.

Number 10 said the renovation work is so the RAF Voyager used by the Prime Minister and the Royal Family “can better represent the UK around the world”.

And his official spokesman said the Union Jack-style branding will be “similar to many other leader's planes”.

But he denied the work being done to the aircraft, which currently has plain grey fuselage, was because Mr Johnson was jealous of the ones used by global figures like Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

After reports the work was being done the PM’s spokesman told reporters: “The RAF Voyager used by the Royal Family and the Prime Minister is currently in Cambridgeshire for pre-planned re-painting, which will mean that the plane can better represent the UK around the world, with national branding similar to many other leader's planes, while also retaining its military air-to-air refuelling capability.”

Asked how much this would cost he said it was expected “to be around £900,000”, adding: “That incorporates the cost of creating a design that will promote the UK around the world without compromising the plane's vital military role.

“At every stage we work to ensure value for money for the UK taxpayer, and all of the work has been undertaken in the UK, directly benefiting UK suppliers.”

Asked if it will still perform military operations after being painted red, white and blue, the spokesman confirmed it would.

Labour frontbencher Louise Haigh said of the planned costs: “When families across the country are worried about their jobs, health and the education of their children, they will rightly question the Government’s priorities when they are spending almost a million pounds redecorating a plane which in all likelihood has been grounded for months because of the coronavirus.”

Reports of the move were also condemened at Prime Minister's questions by the SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford.

He said: “This Tory government has seen a decade of austerity that has driven people into poverty, that has scrapped child poverty targets.

"Rather than reversing the damaging policies that have pushed millions into poverty, the Prime Minister is more interested in finding money to spend on his own vanity project, a luxury VIP plane.”

And Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran called it a “colossal waste of taxpayers' money”.

She said: “The same money could be spent providing an extra £15 school meals voucher to 60,000 children.

"Boris Johnson has insulted our closest allies, scrapped the foreign aid department and is ploughing ahead with a self-destructive no deal Brexit. 

“Repainting his plane won't undo the damage he's done to the UK's reputation abroad."

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