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Bill for HMS Vanity Gin Palace swells by £50m in two months

That's 0.25 DUPs!

The cost of the UK's new "national flagship" to replace the Royal Yacht Britannia has already ballooned by £50m in just two months, it was revealed yesterday.

At the end of May, Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined details for a new oceangoing gin palace to schmooze VIPs, negotiate trade deals, and fly the flag for UK Plc.

The price tag for this luxury yacht was set around £150m-£200m.

But speaking yesterday, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was keen to set the record straight.

"There has been a lot of reporting around this ship," he said. "Not all of it accurate. So let me set out our basic aims.

"Subject to working through bids, competition and technology, I aim to commission the ship for between £200 and £250 million on a firm price."

Compared to the estimates being tossed around a couple of months ago, the bill is already heading in the wrong direction – for taxpayers at least.

The final decision on the design should be made by the end of this year with construction starting in 2022 and the vessel finally slipping her moorings by 2025 at the latest.

The nautical scheme has come in for plenty of criticism – not least on how the UK is going to pay for it.

By The Register's rudimentary reckoning, the cost is now roughly equivalent to around two days' worth of pure profit at Microsoft; 12 tickets for a ride on Jeff Bezos' rocket ship; or the total amount set aside by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, in April last year to create a £250m "Future fund" to help high tech businesses. ®


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