An offical from the government has confirmed that a red, white and blue paint scheme on the Prime Minister’s plane will cost the UK taxpayer about £900,000.
The RAF Voyager aircraft is used by the Prime Minister, plus members of the Royal Family for official visits around the world, and was previously coloured grey.
Why is the plane being painted?
The official spokesman for the government confirmed that the plane is currently in Cambridgeshire for a makeover in the colours of the Union Jack at the cost of £900,000, taken from public funds.
Opposition parties and members of the public have indicted the job as a waste of taxpayer money, but the government has insisted the job is good value for money.
“The RAF Voyager used by the royal family and the PM is currently in Cambridgeshire for pre-planned repainting.
“This will mean that the plane can better represent the UK around the world with national branding, which will be in line with many other leaders’ planes,” said a government official.
He also added that it would continue to perform its other job, refuelling military jets.
‘An utterly unacceptable use of public funds’
MP Stewart McDonald of the Scottish National Party (SNP) criticised the spending of public funds, saying: “This is an utterly unacceptable use of public funds whilst members of the armed forces are spending their own money on uniforms and kit, and the equipment plan deficit is well into the billions for several years running.”
Labour frontbencher Louise Haigh also condemned the large sum: “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 £1m redecorating a plane.”
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden defenced the expenditure as a way of “promoting” the UK abroad, adding: “We have always spent money on promoting the UK around the world. I see this with creative industries, and we really are a creative industries superpower, and we should be promoting that.
“I think the work on the Voyager is part of that promotion,” he said at a daily press briefing.
The news of the redecoration came hot on the heels of criticism levied at the government for their stance on free school meal vouchers for children in England, a scheme they had been planning to stop at the end of the school term.
After a campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford, the government u-turned on the policy, promising the scheme to feed children would continue over the summer.