The Prime Minister has infuriated the nation by spending the sum on two paintings to hang in Downing Street, despite the Government facing tough decisions on spending cuts and tax hikes.
Accounts from the taxpayer-bolstered Government Art Collection show that £70,200 was spent on a painting by Belfast-born artist Cathy Wilkes, 54. The untitled work is egg tempera on linen.
A second piece, costing £18,775 from photographer, video and installation artist Willie Doherty is a set of four black-and-white photographs called Ashen, Restless, which show vegetation and their shadows on a grey concrete background.
Downing Street was unable to say how much public cash was spent on the art but insisted the “majority” came from donors, according to The Mirror. So that’s fine, then...
Apparently not. Reacting to the story, people were outraged.
Labour MP Neil Coyle told The Mirror: “His selfishness and desire for luxuries for himself whilst cutting support and income for others is a sign of the sickness at the heart of his Government.”
Labour backbencher Emma Lewell-Buck added: “The selfishness of this Prime Minister is galling. When shelves are bare in my local food banks, businesses have gone to the wall, public sector and key workers have suffered pay freezes and cuts, his priority is once again himself.”
Meanwhile, other people took to social media to slam the PM:
Nearly £100,000 spent on Downing St paintings as Boris Johnson planned to slash benefits
Welcome to Johnsons “gold… https://t.co/gPu9KWC3kU
It is not the first time Johnson has been accused of being a bit spendthrift. We all, of course, remember wallpaper-gate, in which he p*ssed people off by spending quite a bit on his Downing Street flat refurbishment.
In this case, a Government spokesman told The Mirror: “The Government Art Collection helps to promote the creativity of British art and culture by showcasing its works in the UK and across the globe.
“It acquires new works after consulting and securing the approval of an independent expert panel, and the majority of funding for acquisitions comes from philanthropic sources – not taxpayers’ money.”
It is understood the two works were purchased to mark the centenary of the foundation of Northern Ireland.
Former culture secretary Ed Vaizey, now a Tory peer, also supported the purchases, saying: “Govt art collection has supported British artists for 120 years – a unique cultural asset for our country.”
He added: “(Boris Johnson) would have had no involvement in acquisition, which wld have come from existing budget.”
This episode of Grand Designs is *not* our favourite.