Lord Ashcroft offers to pay £5m towards royal yacht

Note: This article is from the Guardian.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Lord Ashcroft offers to pay £5m towards royal yacht” was written by Rajeev Syal, for The Guardian on Friday 20th January 2012 17.38 UTC

A controversial Conservative peer has promised to pay up to £5m towards a royal yacht, it emerged on Friday. Lord Ashcroft, who has given more than £10m to the Tory party and is now a government adviser, said he would fund a replacement for Britannia, decommissioned in 1997. The former deputy party chairman, 65, told the Daily Mail he would donate the money as part of a plan to give away much of his fortune before he dies. "The nation lost a wonderful asset in 1997, and talk at the time of replacing her with another royal yacht quickly seemed to disappear," he said.

David Cameron has endorsed the idea of a yacht after lobbying from the higher education minister David Willetts and the education secretary, Michael Gove. The idea, at one point described by Gove as a gift from the nation to the Queen on her diamond jubilee, also has the backing of the Prince of Wales and Princess Anne, according to letters sent to the prime minister by Willetts.

The £60m yacht has so far found another £10m in backing from financial leaders in Canada.

The pledges come despite a storm of protest after the Guardian revealed ministers had discussed taxpayers paying for the yacht as a present to the Queen – prompting critics to accuse the government of being out of touch with the nation's economic priorities.

Ashcroft has previously been criticised for failing to admit that he was not domiciled in the UK for tax purposes for nearly a decade after he received a peerage. Rajeev SyalThe political honours scrutiny committee repeatedly made it clear that Ashcroft's elevation was dependent on him giving a promise that he would return to the UK and become a UK taxpayer. The peerage was agreed after Ashcroft gave a "solemn and binding undertaking" in writing that he would become permanently resident in the UK. Instead of becoming a permanent resident, however, he became a "long-term resident" – a distinction that allowed him to avoid paying UK income tax on all his worldwide earnings.


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10 thoughts on “Lord Ashcroft offers to pay £5m towards royal yacht

  1. So, Ashcroft wants to be a ‘long-term resident’, have a key place in the legislature, and rather than pay tax towards the general wellbeing of all, wishes to give his money to the useless Windsor family of multi-millionaires? Disgraceful. Since the Windsors have wreaked vast amounts of public money and could afford to buy this vessel ten times over, do we really need them or him in positions of authority? Kick them all OUT.

  2. Go to http://www.republic.org or visit Republic’s Facebook page to join the campaign for ONE, elected, tenured, removable, lean-managed Head of State, as opposed to over 30 self-appointed, self-interested, undemocratic worthies, funded at vast public expense

  3. If Lord Ashcroft has 5 million pound going begging,could he not think of a better use for it, than a yacht for one of the richest families in the world.Still birds of a feather stick together.This 5 million could go to some deserving good causes,and he wants to donate it to this,DISGRACEFUL

  4. Typical sycophancy from a worthy with an ulterior motive. Before donating money to this floating gin palace which the royal cabal have been successfully lobbying for why doesn’t he fulfill his obligations to the people of this Ruritanian backwater?

  5. Does all every one seem to forget that apart from the use by the queen on offical work over seas the royal yacht hosts buiness leaders and world leaders and in actual fact makes more for the nation than she costs.

  6. Michael, Because they have exempted themselves from the FOI Act, we are prevented from scrutinising fully the security and other costs surrounding these people. We are unable to say how much sponsoring this thirty strong collection of ‘hereditary’ relics DOES actually amount to. £150 million per annum is a conservative estimate. Why on earth should they be constantly feted or treated like the Medici? They are just a bunch of people like any other. Are you really saying that without this obscene grovelling to supply them with a liner, we are incapable of securing business deals in this globalised economy? What utter nonsense.

  7. Like you say Tim utter nonsense,as though we have got to have a luxury yacht to do business,this is just a ploy to make it look as though it is not just for the Royals,when we all know what the real purpose behind this scheme is

  8. Before it has been built, we now hear from Michael that the proposed floating gin palace makes more for the nation than costs. The flaming thing isn’t yet afloat. How do other trading nations manage without a floating gin palace and royals.

  9. To suggest that a royal yacht would actually make money for the country is an absolute nonsense. The cost of building such a white elephant would be dwarfed by the annual running costs, the costs of maintenance and the huge cost of refitting such a vessel. For 15 years the Windsor family have managed very well without their own private yacht, there is absolutely no justification for building one.

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