‘Hope they’re grateful’ UK spent £35k of YOUR money moving artwork to Japan

Frederick Forsyth likens Brexit to Battle of Britain in 2015

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Thriller writer Mr Forsyth aired his views in an op-ed published by The Daily Express – and did not hold back. The author, whose books include The Day of the Jackal, was inspired by an investigation by the Tax Payers’ Alliance (TPA) think tank highlighting what it describes as “£5.6 billion of government waste”.

Mr Forsyth wrote: “Permit me a few examples.

“The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport saw fit to buy for itself a four-foot wall of 13,000 white Lego bricks for £24,000.

“Having a bit of wall space left in a senior mandarin’s office, it purchased an oil painting by an unknown artist for £107,250 to hang there.

“And they spent £34,865 transferring artwork to Tokyo.

“We must all hope the Japanese were duly grateful.”

Moving on to another Government department, he added: “The Ministry of Defence, as our Army is cut to the bone and into the marrow, spent £24,816 sending Covid-protective PPE clothing to the Ukrainian army.

“And there were we thinking British nurses were working without any.

“And then the big disappointment. The same MOD spent £34,500 on non-refundable flights for officials to attend an overseas event that was cancelled. So they couldn’t go…or get the money back.”

As for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, he said it was “so brimming with your cash that it spent £912,455 investigating the effects of Covid on women’s rights in Libya”, according to the TPA’s report.

He commented: “Some of us thought Libya was racked with civil war and its citizens rather concerned with staying alive.

“And they managed to get through £206,638 on redecorating their own offices, calling it ‘interior design’. Oh, and £25,831 on flowers.”

Mr Forsyth continued: “The lists, department by department, go on and on.

“As our Scottish friends say, many a mickle macks a muckle, which I think means that it all adds up. In total our Civil Service worked its way through £5,577,988,036, or something north of five and a half billion pounds.

“So here’s a fun exercise to while away the day.

“Can you think of anything worthwhile that it could have been spent on? Like helping the old and the sick of Britain?”

Other key findings of the TPA investigation, which was published in November, include:

  • Senior civil servants banking at least £42 million in bonuses last year
  • The Treasury spending £23,400 on travel, including first-class flights
  • The Department for Health and Social Care spent £50,000 on takeaways from ‘Bong Bongs Manila Kanteen’ during lockdown

John O’Connell, TPA chief executive, said: “”These figures are alarming but sadly are only the tip of the iceberg. 

Express.co.uk has contacted the DCMS, the MOD and the FCO to offer them a chance to comment.

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