Brown scraps 'Blair Force One' plan
Gordon Brown has scrapped plans to buy two private jets to carry him and the Royal Family around the world, it was revealed today.
Instead the Government is scaling back proposals made by former premier Tony Blair, which were expected to cost taxpayers £100 million, and will buy only a small plane for trips around the UK.
The decision to abandon plans for the jets - nicknamed "Blair Force One" - was disclosed in a written statement to MPs by the Department for Transport.
Transport minister Jim Fitzpatrick said the department had worked closely with the Royal Household, No 10 and the Foreign Office to reach the decision.
He said: "I am today recommending that the needs of the users of this service can best be met through procuring a small aircraft for official travel within the UK, chartered air services for longer journeys involving small parties, and a continuation of existing arrangements with UK airlines for journeys involving large parties.
"This approach ensures better value for money for the taxpayer whilst also minimising the environmental impact of royal and ministerial air travel, producing an estimated 10-per-cent saving on O2 emissions."
The statement to MPs said there had been "substantial increases in the cost of buying and operating commercial aircraft" since the idea was first raised in 2006.
It also points out that the new Ministerial Code - introduced by Mr Brown when he entered No 10 last summer - sets out that scheduled flights should be used wherever possible.
"An increasing proportion of overseas journeys, including a number of those undertaken by the Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister, are now routinely made on scheduled flights."
- 4 Women think Irish men are the sexiest, survey finds
- 5 Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for in the general election? Take The Independent's interactive quiz to find out which party is the right choice for you
Florida couple forced to register as sex offenders for having sex on public beach
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Met Gala 2015: Jason Derulo falling over in epic fashion, the event's most talked about moment, wasn't what it seemed
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: Post-election 'shambles' looms as 70 per cent of voters say SNP 'should not be able to veto UK government policies'
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...
£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...