Almost £1m of taxpayer money will be used to paint PM and Royal Family's RAF plane red, white and blue

Thursday, 18th June 2020, 10:55 am
Updated Thursday, 18th June 2020, 12:18 pm
The RAF Voyager is used by the PM and members of the Royal Family for official visits. (Photo: John Stillwell -Pool Getty Images)
The RAF Voyager is used by the PM and members of the Royal Family for official visits. (Photo: John Stillwell -Pool Getty Images)

A government official has confirmed that a red, white and blue paint job on the Prime Minister's plane will cost the UK taxpayer £900,000.

The RAF Voyager is used by the Prime Minister and members of the Royal Family for official visits around the world, and was previously coloured grey.

An 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.

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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.

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, saying:

“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.