Embarrassing dads! We're all in this together
Even the Chancellor has one. As he tells us to tighten our belts, his father wants a £19,000 desk and a holiday in Mustique
George Osborne could be forgiven for wanting to draw a line under his "omnishambles" of a Budget by insisting the Government is, in these hard times, doing everything to show we are all in this together.
So perhaps the last thing the Chancellor needs is his father enthusing about his love for £19,000 pastiche neoclassical desks, holidays in Mustique, magnums of vintage wine and bagging a bargain at Christie's.
Sir Peter Osborne, 17th baronet of Ballintaylor and Ballylemon and the co-founder of the multimillion-pound Osborne & Little wallpaper empire, lists his favourite furniture, art, clothes and holidays in the Financial Times's How to Spend It, a supplement that does what it says on the tin.
While his son was on the radio yesterday reassuring Britons that the UK's £10bn loan to the International Monetary Fund was worthwhile, and defending terrible headlines over his tax plans for grannies, pasties and charities, Sir Peter was telling readers how he spends his money.
Sir Peter's shopping list emerged at the same time as the disclosure that David Cameron's father, Ian, left a fortune of £2.74m in his will after amassing money from investments in offshore tax havens. Ian Cameron left his younger son David £300,000 when he died in 2010. While the use of tax havens by Mr Cameron Snr was perfectly legal, the revelation makes the Prime Minister and the Chancellor's pledge to publish their tax returns sound somewhat hollow.
The disclosure will also do little to eradicate the impression that Mr Cameron and Mr Osborne are pushing through huge spending cuts from a position of inherited wealth.
Mr Osborne is the heir to the Ballintaylor and Ballylemon baronetcy and his father's interiors business. Earlier this month, amid the row over his cutting the 50p top rate of income tax to 45p, Mr Osborne claimed he did not earn enough to fall into the 50p bracket, even though he benefits from a trust fund and rental income from his Notting Hill property.
In How to Spend It, Sir Peter, 69, says the most unforgettable place he's travelled to in the past year was Mustique, the exclusive Caribbean island favourite of Princess Margaret and Mick Jagger. Sir Peter "went with some of our family in January", although the party did not include Mr Osborne, his wife Frances and their children. Sir Peter was lent a villa by an Italian friend in return, he tells us, for two magnums of Sassicaia, a fine Italian red wine, at a cost of about £700.
Sir Peter told the magazine: "We thought it was paradise, more for what it lacked than what it had – no cars, one hotel, a couple of bars, empty beaches."
Sir Peter says his next big purchase will be a Fornasetti Architettura Trumeau desk at Themes and Variations. The desk, which can best be described as pastiche neoclassical and is something of an acquired taste, costs £19,000. His last favourite buy was an Ettore Sottsass Tahiti lamp "in a sale at Christie's", at an estimated cost of £1,360.
Sir Peter's favourite clothes include a cream cotton shirt by the Prince of Wales's chosen shirtmaker, Turnbull & Asser, at about £145, a £765 navy off-the-peg suit from Savile Row tailors Richard James, and a £135 knit silk tie by French couturier Charvet.
Other favourite spends include a ticket to the Metropolitan Opera in New York, which costs £250 for the best seats, Kiehl's Abyssine SPF23+ face cream at £40.50 for 50ml, and a Chelsea Football Club season ticket – for which, as a senior citizen, Sir Peter would pay up to £480.
Perhaps Sir Peter has been picking up tips on spending cuts from his Chancellor son, however: he pays a modest £25 for a haircut (and a free game of backgammon) from Anton at Le Leon, a Notting Hill hairdressers.
Mr Cameron's father set up funds in Panama and Geneva in 1982. The Prime Minister recently said the Government would be taking a "tougher approach" to offshore tax havens, "particularly with very wealthy individuals and with the bigger companies to make sure they pay their fair share".
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