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  • Leading by example

    by Rumbold
    27th May, 2011 at 5:17 pm    

    It has been revealed that David Cameron spent around £680,000 of taxpayers’ money on Downing Street last year:

    Records of all government spending reveal nine bills for the refurbishment of Downing Street including £30,000 for work he and his wife Samantha carried out on the No 11 flat last summer. The centrepiece of their revamp was the kitchen, revealed this week in official photographs of the President Barack Obama’s state visit…

    The other £653,192.34 was spent on external and internal renovation work to the offices and reception rooms in Downing Street, including cabling, plumbing and energy efficiency improvements. No 10 declined to specify further what the money was spent on and has previously refused Freedom of Information requests asking what changes have been made to the Grade I listed building since the election and the costs.

    Clearly the Camerons should have a small taxpayer-funded allowance for repairs and renovations for their flat, since they live in Downing Street for work and security reasons. The money allocated should also reflect the cost of Central London and the need for vetting of staff. Yet the money spent seems excessive. It would be useful to have a breakdown of the money spent of thing like plumbing (it might or might not have needed doing, since there are offices there too).

    However, the £30,000 for a kitchen, unless it was a complete shambles, is expensive, and David Cameron shouldn’t been lecturing the nation on the necessity of cutting back whilst spending excessive amounts of taxpayers’ money on a kitchen as opposed to something a rape crisis centre. Is it a small amount of money in the grand scheme of things? Yes. But it is the principle of it, as well as being real money which could help people. Some will also say that Labour were more wasteful in government. They were, but assessing the proper use of taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be measured at the lowest common denominator.

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    Filed in: Economics,Economy

    8 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs

    1. Don — on 27th May, 2011 at 6:22 pm  

      Anyone old enough to remember ‘kitchen Cabinet’ jokes?

      I’m not sure I’m too concerned about this. Pretty obviously the structural wiring, plumbing, communications and security details of Number 10 are not going to be forthcoming. Plus, Grade 1 is pricy to maintain.

    2. chairwoman — on 27th May, 2011 at 6:25 pm  

      Interesting as I distinctly remember reading that the Camerons were footing the bill themselves for the kitchen.

      As it’s basically a ‘tied cottage’, I don’t see why any incumbent should foot the bill for anything structural.

    3. AbuF — on 27th May, 2011 at 10:14 pm  

      From what I recall, the structural engineering of all of the houses along Downing Street left a lot to be desired. Built without proper foundations, using dodgy materials (including in places plain scrap materials), they are characteristic of the quick builds of their era (and the boom in development in that part of Westminster at that time). Both 10 and 11 Downing Street have undergone a great deal of alteration, including basically shoring them up to stop them collapsing. It is not an exaggeration to say that their terrace status has kept them upright over the centuries. Frankly, I would not consider buying one!

    4. Boyo — on 28th May, 2011 at 5:52 am  

      Sigh, don’t you get it yet? The smooth Mr Cameron does the precise opposite of everything he says. It remains amazing to me that somehow he seems to get away with it, be it the NHS, economy (what a success story!) or immigration for that matter.

      We’ve wasted £1 billion on Libya FFS!

      This is literally small change in comparison.

      Really, Merlin has nothing on him!

    5. joe90 — on 28th May, 2011 at 12:35 pm  

      Leading by example couldn’t have said it better myself!

      the richie rich Conservative party prove what they are all about yet again. Looking after the bankers who they scared to even say boo to, and themselves.

      this guy cameron and his missus are multi millionaires multiple times over, did they really need the public to pay for a £600k + makeover?

    6. earwicga — on 29th May, 2011 at 12:28 am  

      You’ll be happy to know that the Cameron family went to Ibiza using EasyJet then.

      Doesn’t really please me though. Impoverished visions lead to impoverished results.

      National economics aren’t the same as household economics and only a fool tries to suggest otherwise Rumbold. I believe Cameron is prone to do this.

    7. persephone — on 29th May, 2011 at 11:36 am  

      680k would have bought a fairly good house in itself. Why does the PM have to live in a grade 1 listed building which are expensive to run & not naturally energy efficient. Surely a more modest house can suffice (with necessary security which I can understand costing a substantial sum) should be a better way to go.

      Its disappointing & not transparent of them to be uncooperative with FOI requests.

    8. persephone — on 30th May, 2011 at 10:48 pm  

      Why not install them in a wing at Buck Palace which is already high security & must have the space. What a tax saving that would be to negate the cost of 10 Downing St

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