Council leader urges Government not to ‘waste’ money on King portraits

Councillor Cammy Day said £8m earmarked for the initiative should instead be spent on 'front-line services for councils'.

Edinburgh council leader urges UK Government not to ‘waste’ money on King Charles portraits Getty Images

The UK Government has been urged not to “waste any money” on portraits of King Charles to hang in Edinburgh’s public buildings by the council leader.

Councillor Cammy Day said £8m earmarked for the initiative should instead be spent on “front-line services for councils”.

It comes amid reports in a national newspaper of plans to hang a portrait of the new monarch “in every Scottish school and nursery.”

The council leader said he was unsure whether any had been ordered for buildings in the capital but would find out.

Earlier this year it was announced councils, courts, schools and other public authorities would be offered a “free portrait of His Majesty The King, fully funded by the UK Government, as part of a scheme to celebrate the new reign”.

SNP ministers have reportedly hit back at a request from Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden for an “exhaustive list” of institutions eligible to take part.

Dowden reportedly asked for names and addresses of council buildings, prisons, courts, police stations and education institutions as well as estimates for how many would be willing to sign up.

Raising the issue at a full council meeting on Thursday Green Group co-convener Ben Parker said: “The UK Government is proposing to spend up to £8m providing portraits of Charles Windsor to hang in all public buildings.”

He asked: “Does the council leader think this is a good use of public money, and can he confirm that in Edinburgh we won’t be going along with that nonsense?”

Councillor Day said he was “quite confident that there are better things we could spend that money on”.

He added: “We would ask both the UK and Scottish Government not to waste any money, whether that’s on portraits or embassies abroad, and spend that money on front-line services for councils.

“In terms of have Edinburgh committed to that, I don’t know and I will find out and get back to Councillor Parker.”

Edinburgh City Council was approached for comment.

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