Tax payers pay for grand old Duke of York

The Duke of York spent almost £130,000 on hotels and other expenses during 16 taxpayer-funded trips abroad last year, official figures to be published next week will reveal.

The publicly-funded expenses were incurred while the Duke was acting in his capacity as an ambassador for British trade abroad. His expenses bill is to be published for the first time under Freedom of Information laws.

It is expected to lead to renewed scrutiny of the Duke's publicly-funded lifestyle. He has earned the nickname "airmiles Andy" and the "junket of York" for his lavish use of private planes and helicopters at public expense.

Last year he made 16 visits abroad including trips to India, Brazil, America, Japan and the Middle East. A breakdown of the costs of each visit is expected to reveal that some cost tens of thousands of pounds. However, some visits such as to the UAE, where he is understood to have enjoyed official hospitality, cost less than £2,000.

The expenses - which total between £120,000 and £130,000 - cover hotels, transport once abroad and the costs of dinners and other entertainment. However, they exclude air travel.

The Duke has previously been criticised after being photographed with bikini-clad girls on a Brazilian millionaire's speedboat during an eight-day business trip to South America. He has also been seen playing golf during official visits.

It has also been claimed that the Duke stays in more expensive hotels than those used by Government ministers on official business.

Duke of York spent £130,000 during taxpayer-funded trips abroad (Daily Telegraph, 21 November 2008)