By Martin Robinson
..Despite the Government warning grim austerity in Britain could last until 2020, it appears that the swingeing cuts haven't yet been applied to George Osborne's own cat Freya.
Spotted yesterday prowling outside No. 11 Downing Street, the Chancellor's beloved pet was sporting a pink diamante collar that proves her owners aren't feeling the pinch quite yet.
Freya is clearly getting spoiled after she dramatically returned to the Osbornes last month.
The tabby went missing from the family's other posh home in Notting Hill home three years ago when she was just a few months old.
Austerity Britain? George Osborne's cat was yesterday spotted wearing a diamante collar as she wandered outsider her home
The Chancellor and his family had assumed Freya had vanished for ever and gave up hope long before moving into Downing Street in 2011, assuming the cat had got lost – or worse, been run over and killed.
Instead they transferred their affections to the family budgie, Gibson, named after RAF Dambusters hero Guy Gibson, and two goldfish.
But a month ago his wife, Frances, an author, received a phone call telling her Freya was alive and well.
She had been living as a stray in a garden a few streets away from the Osbornes’ Notting Hill house, lovingly fed and looked after by a neighbour who had not seen the posters.
On the prowl: Freya wandered past her front door on the day David Cameron has admitted his austerity programme could last until 2020
Day job: While her owner was at work Freya stalked Downing Street's pavements as she still gets used to her new surroundings
Freya, looking particularly well-nourished, was reunited with the Osbornes after a visit to a vet revealed a microchip beneath its skin bearing Mrs Osborne’s phone number.
A few days later, Freya, looking fit and healthy, was installed in Downing Street and sporting her collar, which can cost up to £50.
Her return must be a welcome relief from the problems Mr Osborne is having in his day job.
Not only is his popularity plummeting in the opinion polls, last night his strategy to restore Britain to economic health was believed to be just months from failure.
Powerhouse the International Monetary Fund said the Chancellor should water down his austerity plans if the economy fails to bounce back by early next year.
Queen of bling: Freya's fashionable collar has become a bone of contention
The Osbornes live in the flat above No 10, which they moved into more than a year after the 2010 Election, while the Camerons live above No 11.
Ever since David Cameron replaced Gordon Brown as Prime Minister, there has only been one feline ruling the roost on the famous street.
So before Freya was let loose in the garden, she was introduced to Larry, the Camerons’ cat, who is often better known than many of the politicians and dignitaries who pass through the famous black door.
A Treasury spokesman said recently: ‘She is settling in nicely and getting on well with family, staff and Larry.’
New friend: The Prime Minister's cat Larry, pictured, has had the run of Downing Street since David Cameron took office - until now
Friday, July 20, 2012
By Martin Robinson