Prime ministers receive an annual allowance of up to £30,000 a year to put towards maintaining their gaff but there has been speculation that he spent £200,000 on the project, like some sort of deranged contestant on Grand Designs.
What makes this controversial is that he is alleged to have dipped into Conservative party donations to spruce it up, although he maintains he paid for it personally. The Electoral Commission will be the judge, as they are now investigating the matter.
But with £840 a roll wallpaper, among other decorations, we think there are better things that £200,000 can go towards. Here are six.
1. 41 Universal Credit claimants
Last week, The Times revealed that a universal credit claimant once contacted Johnson directly to ask for “help with their benefit claim” after being passed the PM’s phone number.
- Teenager accidentally moved into a retirement community because rent was cheaper
- Man who bragged that he couldn’t be arrested for racism is arrested for racism
- Man who claims he is Charles and Camilla’s son shares new photographic ‘evidence’
- Willow Smith has revealed she is polyamorous – so what is polyamory?
- Couple furious after grandparents pierce their baby’s ears despite being told no
A single claimant aged 25 or over receives £411.51 per month on Universal Credit. Boris Johnson’s flat refurbishment would be able to fund 41 claimants for a year, or one claimant for 41 years. His choice.
2. Removing cladding from 36 flats
Yesterday parliament voted against protecting homeowners from post-Grenfell fire safety costs. Many homeowners say they now face financial ruin and warn that the decision to make them pay puts lives at risk.
Private leaseholders estimate that, depending on the size of a building, it costs between £4,000 and £7,000 to remove dangerous cladding from buildings, for instance. If we take the average - £5,500, that’s 36 flats.
3. 13,333 Pfizer doses
It is estimated that it costs £15 for a dose of the Pfizer vaccine. While the UK’s vaccine rollout has been entirely commendable, nobody would say no to an extra 13,000.
4. 714 laptops for school children
At the start of the third national lockdown, charities were forced to step in to provide laptops to schoolchildren. Ofcom estimated that between 1.14m and 1.78m children did not have access to the technology needed to learn remotely.
£200,00 could have fronted the cost for 714 Lenovo Chromebook Duets, a budget laptop.
5. Housing 30 migrants
With the National Audit Office (NAO) estimating that it costs some £560 a month to house a migrant for a year in the UK, Johnsons cash could have paid for 30.
6. 86,956 free school meals
Over the last year that has been frequent controversy about funding free school meals for children over school holidays. They cost £2.30 a pop, so Johnson could have paid for almost 87,000.
But hey, gold wallpaper is pretty cool too.