Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has been called out for spending £500,000 on a private return flight whilst claiming the national insurance tax pushed by the Tories on working people will “deliver the improvements that are needed”.
It comes as Simon Clarke, who is Chief Secretary to the Treasury, defended Truss’s spending on national TV.
Ed Balls quoted the Foreign Secretary back in 2007, when she told a thinktank: “Every public sector worker should feel personal responsibility for the money they spend and the money they save. They should spend taxpayers’ money with at least the care they would give to their own.
“This change of mindset would be reflected in everyday changes, such as travelling by economy, rather than business class.”
But Balls said that last week Truss decided to not even travel business class to Australia, and instead spent £500,000 on a return flight to Australia.
“She could have saved huge amounts of taxpayers’ money by going business class, let alone economy class,” Balls said, adding: “As the chief secretary, what have you said to the Foreign Office, have you said to them, get a grip to the way in which we’re spending public money?”
Clarke replied: “No, we have a government plane to conduct government business in the way that all major nations do and I think that’s right and appropriate.”
The presenter pointed out to the Tory that Truss could have flown in business class for 10 times less money but instead spent half a million pounds on a private plane. “I’m just asking you, do you think that’s value for money?,” he said.
“Yes, I do believe that is appropriate,” Clarke said, adding: “Clearly, we always manage the public finances with great care and attention.
“I think that the Foreign Secretary, when travelling around representing the United Kingdom, should be able to use the British government’s plane.”
“I’ve got to say Mr Clarke, for the first time, you don’t sound like a chief secretary to the Treasury. That’s what prime ministers are supposed to say, or chancellors, chief secretaries are supposed to bang the table and say, ‘let’s start saving some money!’,” Balls concluded.
Truss supports tax hike for working people
Meanwhile, filmmaker Peter Stefanovic, pointd out that, whilst Truss went on to splash hundreds of thousands of pounds on a private jet journey, she has also pushed for a national insurance hike from April. “This tax has been designed to deliver the improvements that are needed to the National Health Service and to social care,” Truss is heard saying in a clip from the BBC.
“How is hiking taxes to a 70 year high to pay for something the Prime Minister said would be paid for by a massive Brexit dividend if we left the European Union getting Brexit done?,” Stefanovic asked.