The Mail is reporting this morning that Boris is planning to setup a special charity to pay for what it describes as a lavish refurbishment of the apartment where the PM and his fiance live in Downing Street. The Mail goes on:
Mr Johnson has complained the cost of the refurbishment by Carrie Symonds was ‘totally out of control’, the Daily Mail has been told. He reportedly said during one meeting that the sum amounted to ‘tens and tens of thousands’. On another occasion he said it was ‘over a hundred grand’..He is said to have told one minister he was particularly alarmed by the cost of wallpaper chosen by Miss Symonds, saying she appeared to have ordered ‘gold wall coverings’.Mr Johnson has asked multi-millionaire financier and Tory peer Lord Brownlow, who has close links with the Royal Family, to run the charity. It is believed that an application to register it with the Charity Commission is under way. The official purpose of the charity is to raise funds to preserve No 10 and No 11 Downing Street for the nation on heritage grounds. But insiders say the proposal stemmed from the soaring cost of a makeover of the No 11 flat, which is preferred by prime ministers with families because it is bigger than the No 10 flat...Mr Johnson first expressed concern at the rising cost early last year. He is said to have commented there was ‘no way’ he could pay for it after being informed by the Cabinet Office that the maximum taxpayer contribution was ‘around £30,000’.
Sure a special charity might make this more palatable is PR terms but even if it is established a fair slice of the money it hands over will effectively come out of the public purse. For there are significant tax breaks in the UK on gifts to officially designated charities which means that donors should be able to recoup a reasonably big slice of their gifts.