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Comment 16 JANUARY 2012

PM rules out public money for royal yacht as more Jubilee details revealed

16 JANUARY 2012

David Cameron has rejected calls for the Queen to be given a new yacht in honour of her Diamond Jubilee with public money.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said it would not be "an appropriate use of public money at the present time".

Education Secretary Michael Gove made the suggestion in a letter to Culture Minister Jeremy Hunt.

 

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The purchase estimated at £60 million, should be made “in spite of, and perhaps because of the austere times,” he argued.

It would be a "tremendous opportunity to recognize in a very fitting way the queen's highly significant contribution to the life of the nation and the Commonwealth," he added.

While the royal yacht Britannia, which was decommissioned in 1997 will not be replaced with public money, it's understood that a private initiative to raise funds for a new vessel has government backing.

The government would "react favourably" to the Future Ship Project which aims to build a royal yacht for hosting royal events.

The Future Ship Project for the 21st Century (FSP21) involves building a ship 600ft long, to be used for trade and business events, as well as a training ship for 200 young people.

Downing Street emphasised that taxpayers' money would not be used on any new royal yacht.



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Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace has unveiled a series of exciting events to mark the Jubilee.

Communities up and down the country are being encouraged to organise street parties and picnic lunches with their neighbours for Sunday June 3. 

And a 1,000 boat flotilla will take to the Thames, with the monarch travelling at the head in the Royal Barge.

The following day, the Palace will rock to the sounds of a Jubilee concert and a network of  2,012 beacons will illuminate the night sky across the land – the first one lit by the matriarch herself.

On Tuesday, the weekend of celebrations will draw to a spectacular close with a carriage procession from St Paul's Cathedral after a service of thanksgiving.

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