Fury as Foreign Office officials ‘laugh’ enjoy ‘£50,000’ booze in the air
Foreign Office officials enjoyed a £50,000 booze on the Prime Minister’s plane – as millions brace for a cost of living crisis, it was claimed yesterday evening.
Activists reacted furiously to images of ‘sneering’ mandarins boarding the plane, dubbed ‘Baby Boris Force One’, where they enjoyed cream leather seats with faux wood panels, luxury crystal glasses and fine china dinnerware.
They relaxed on a 700-mile round trip between Stansted Airport and the Lake District and back for what the government called a ‘maintenance’ trip.
Staff are said to have enjoyed a fancy dinner, while the Foreign Office confirmed to The Sun that there was alcohol on board, but declined to say whether it was consumed. Sources said the cost of the jolly would likely have been around £50,000.
The group of 12 men and women – who would normally have worked on key foreign issues, potentially including the war in Ukraine – appeared to bask in their day in VIP style, taking selfies on the red carpet reserved for them and again after boarding. the Airbus A321, according to reports.
Labour’s shadow trade secretary Emily Thornberry said: “It would be utterly shameful behavior at the best of times, but in the midst of our country’s current crisis it is shameful beyond words. “
John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, added: ‘Taxpayers will wonder why the feather-pushers had the privilege of running a government jet.’
Staff relaxed on a 700-mile round trip from Stansted Airport to the Lake District and back for what the government called a ‘maintenance’ trip
The plane enjoyed by officials, which recently had a £900,000 new paint job, is due to fly the new Prime Minister to Balmoral to be sworn in by the Queen next Tuesday.
Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie walk after disembarking from their plane as they arrive for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Kigali, Rwanda
Civil servants have been accused of receiving a range of benefits in recent months, including offers to work from home permanently.
Official figures show the number of government workers on special “work from home” contracts has almost tripled since the pandemic.
There were 183 homeworkers in eight of Whitehall’s main departments in 2019-20, rising to 309 the following year and 530 in 2021-22.
The biggest increase has been in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), where the number rose from 117 before Covid hit to 380 earlier this year.
At the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the number rose from 14 to 60 over the same period.
Meanwhile, experts have warned that new gold-plated pensions handed out to MPs, civil servants and other public sector workers will cost the taxpayer an extra £6billion this year alone due to runaway inflation.
This will be on top of the huge annual bill for retired state employees, which already stands at £60billion, a third more than the entire defense budget.
It will also fuel a simmering row over “pension apartheid” between generous public sector benefits and inferior and risky schemes for employees in the wealth-creating private sector.
It comes amid growing pressure on ordinary families, with the boss of the UK’s third-biggest energy company admitting millions are facing ‘a winter like never before’ as the number of Britons living in poverty is expected to rise from three million to 14 million.
Ovo Energy chief Stephen Fitzpatrick said helping low-income families pay their energy bills “must be the first task” of the next Prime Minister, with annual gas and electricity bills set to reach £7,263 by next April.
And inflation could hit 22.4% next year if gasoline prices stay as high as they are now, according to a terrifying forecast from Goldman Sachs.
The plane the officials enjoyed, which recently had a £900,000 new paint job, is due to fly the new Prime Minister to Balmoral to be sworn in by the Queen next Tuesday.
A government spokesman told The Sun: “In order to comply with Airbus and aviation industry rules, the plane was legally required to complete a maintenance flight by September 4 or face significant additional storage costs.”