BRITISH taxpayers will have to foot a £2 million bill to buy a fleet of new eco-friendly cars for just 30 British diplomats.
In a bid to bolster the Foreign Office’s green credentials, Dominic Raab has signed off on an upgrade that will replace existing cars with Jaguar I-Pace electric vehicles by April – at a cost of around £50,000 each.
And the Foreign Office will also splurge money on installing charging points for each of the 30 new vehicles.
Top Foreign Office mandarin Sir Simon McDonald said the new cars will serve as a “high profile” tool to show off Britain’s “international leadership on climate change diplomacy”.
A spokesman insisted the cost of the new electric vehicles would be cheaper than existing petrol and diesel models.
But Jeremy Hutton, policy analyst at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, blasted: “Going green is all well and good but it should only be done so when typical taxpayers are not stung with bad value for their money.
Switching over to other options shouldn’t just be about signalling virtue, it should be good for taxpayers too.”
The £2 million spending is part of the Government’s target to ensure a quarter of all departmental cars are electric by 2022 and an all-electric fleet by 2030.
It comes as the UK prepares to host the crucial COP26 international climate change talks in Glasgow in November.
Sir Simon McDonald, the permanent under-secretary at the FCO, said: “Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, and our fleet of flag cars is a high-profile tool for demonstrating the UK’s international leadership on climate change diplomacy.
“I want us to be the greenest diplomatic service in the world. Shifting our vehicles away from petrol to all-electric will help us achieve this.”