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The UK government has again shown that it’s one rule for them and another for those of whom they govern. It has emerged that they have purchased a £12 million ($15.9m) luxury apartment in New York for the Consul General and his wife to live in. While it will also be used to “negotiate trade deals” is this really an appropriate way to spend taxpayers money?
The seven bedroom flat which takes up an entire floor is a stones throw from The United Nations HQ in New York.
A floor plan of the 5,893 sq ft apartment, as seen below, shows it boasts a library, six bathrooms and of course, the much needed “powder room.”
While some of the bedrooms are listed as “staff bedrooms,” The Foreign Office told the Guardian that it will only house The Consul General Antony Phillipson and his family.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office told the BBC and other media outlets;
“We have secured the best possible deal and value for money on a property that will help promote the UK in the commercial capital of our largest export market and trading partner.
“As well as being the consul general’s residence, it will also be used to support his work to help British businesses as Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for North America. We are in the process of selling the consul general’s current residence.”
More US Building Costs
This isn’t the only big spend the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)
have been making in the United States either.
Starting in July this year, £55m will be spent refurbishing the British Embassy and Ambassadors residence in Washington DC. The work is not due to be completed until 2021.
Not So Austere for The Government
While working age benefits remain frozen for a fourth year in a row and 14 million people in the UK are listed as being in poverty, it’s sickening that such a purchase can be justified.
While I understand that diplomats need at decent space to entertain, the FCO have chosen to go for possibly the most exclusive and expensive location in New York.
Former US Ambassador the the UN Nikki Haley lived in the same block and the Qatari government paid $45m for three of the luxury pads. It seems that this was more to keep pace with other countries than a necessity.
After all, does the Consul General really need access to a swimming pool longer than an Olympic one? Do they need the on site spa? I think not.
Taxpayers have a right to expect that their taxes are spent responsibly in keeping with the overall state of the country.
The government also state that it will allow the US Trade Ambassador to negotiate trade deals post Brexit. This seems a little premature given how Brexit talks are panning out in the Commons just now.
Labour MP for Oldham East Debbie Abrahams gave me her views on the government’s decision to spend £12m;
“This is yet another example of where the Government’s priorities lie. While millions of children and disabled people are living in poverty, homelessness is left to run rampant, the Government thinks it is acceptable to spend £12m on accommodation for a Foreign Office Diplomat. It is most definitely not.”
It is just another example of however little the Tories care about those who are suffering from their hostile policies.