U.K. politician criticized for splashing public cash on engraved AirPods Pro

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AirPods Pro with black background discounts
AirPods Pro were purchased on expenses during push to home working.
Photo: Apple

A politician in the UK is being blasted for spending public money on personalized AirPods, despite far cheaper wireless earbuds being available.

Labour politician Angela Rayner spent more than $3,300 on Apple gadgets at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. This was as part of new home-working measures. Politicians were allowed to claim money to pay for technology they required to do their job.

However, some folks felt that Rayner’s expenditure was not entirely justified as a use of public coffers. Her purchases included an iPad Pro and Smart Folio case, Smart Keyboard, Apple Pencil, and engraved AirPods Pro.

John O’Connell, representing the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said that, “No doubt all this spending will be ‘within the rules’. But MPs should be asking themselves if it was necessary when millions of Brits may face unemployment.”

A spokesperson for Angela Rayner said that: “All expenses for the running of Angela’s parliamentary office were submitted in line with the rules.”

Politicians and the Apple tax

Apple doesn’t charge for engraving of its AirPods. However, as one Twitter user wrote: “Apple Airpod Pros are £199 at Amazon and other retailers, she bought them from Apple at £249 so paid extra for personalised ones… why do they need to be personalised to do her job?”

Many pointed to the prevalence of cheaper wireless earbuds that are available at a lower price point. “If they were bought on expenses and not her personal money they technically don’t belong to her,” wrote another. “I can’t just take headphones from my work I have to give them back, so she shouldn’t have personalised something that doesn’t belong to her!”

Angela Rayner is far from the first politician to use Apple devices — or to buy them using public finances. But for many people this is an example of when the so-called Apple tax isn’t worth paying.

Source: The Sun