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Opposition anger as Downing Street spends £90,000 on two pictures

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been criticised for spending £90,000 on two painting for the Government Art Collection (GAC).

The GAC paid £70,200 for a work by Belfast artist Cathy Wilkes.

It spent a further £18,775 for a picture Willie Doherty.


The GAC is funded by donations – but is supplemented by taxpayers’ cash.

The purchases come as the Government is looking to freeze pay rises for key workers like nurses and police officers.

Labour MP Neil Coyle tweeted:

“As his Government cuts Universal Credit and freezes frontline nurse/police pay, Johnson has found more money to treat himself. Again.

“He could not be more out of touch.”

A Government spokeswoman said:

“The Government Art Collection helps to promote the creativity of British art and culture by showcasing its works in the UK and across the globe.

“It acquires new works after consulting and securing the approval of an independent expert panel, and the majority of funding for acquisitions comes from philanthropic sources – not taxpayers’ money.

“The Government Art Collection is committed to public engagement and lends extensively to public exhibitions and collaborates with public facing national events and through its digital platforms.

Tory peer and former culture secretary Ed Vaizey said:

“The Government Art Collection has supported British artists for 120 years – a unique cultural asset for our country.

“Boris Johnson would have had no involvement in the acquisition, which would have come from the existing budget.”




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