politics

Liz Truss criticised for private flight to Australia which ‘cost taxpayers £500,000’



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iz Truss has been accused of a “grotesque misuse of taxpayers’ money” following reports she chartered a private jet to Australia which would have cost £500,000.

The Independent reported the Foreign Secretary had opted for the private flight for her trip last week due to security concerns, although commercial flights were available.

The newspaper said she had travelled on the private government Airbus A321, which a senior source told them would have cost £500,000 to operate.

Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss arrives in Downing Street, London (Stefan Rousseau/PA) / PA Wire

The Foreign Office said the trip was within the rules set by the ministerial code.

Officials said using the private jet allowed the trip’s delegation to travel together and have private discussions on sensitive security matters, that commercial flights were fully booked, and that using a commercial flight would have separated Ms Truss from her delegation and protection team.

It also gave Ms Truss the option of returning to the UK early if needed, it is understood.

But Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said the use of the private jet showed “the public exactly quite how little respect this Conservative Government has for taxpayers’ money”.

She said: “It is obscene that Government ministers are jet setting yet are hiking taxes and refusing to do anything to help working families when they are feeling the pinch of the cost of living crisis.

“Tories waste disgusting amounts of public money on their own vanity and comfort, Labour wants to see families see a cut to energy bills, that is the difference.”

SNP environment spokesperson Deidre Brock added that it was a “grotesque misuse of taxpayers’ money to fund her jet-set lifestyle”.

She said: “With a record like this, Lavish Liz will make a fitting successor to Boris Johnson.”

In a policy paper called Back to Black which Ms Truss co-authored in 2009 she, along with others, outlined how: “Every public sector worker should feel personal responsibility for the money they spend and the money they save.

“They should spend taxpayers’ money with at least the care they would give to their own.

“This change of mindset would be reflected in everyday changes such as travelling by economy rather than business class, to larger scale changes around focusing on value for money.

“It should start at the very top with MPs reviewing the expenses they have become accustomed to claiming and filter down throughout the entire sector.”



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