Campaigners have slammed the government's decision to spend £8million on portraits of King Charles as scandalous, saying ministers have "lost the plot".

The scheme, announced this weekend, allows public authorities to apply to receive a portrait of the new king.

Anti-monarchy campaign Republic has called on the government to scrap the scheme immediately.

Speaking for the campaign, Graham Smith said today:

"This is a shameful waste of money. At a time when a majority of local councils are raising taxes and cutting public services, when schools and hospitals are struggling, to spend even £1 on this nonsense would be £1 too much."

"Charles dodged a huge tax bill last year, when he inherited an estimated £650m from the Queen. Surely if anyone really wants an official portrait he can stump up the cost himself."

"The government has lost the plot if they think people want their money spent on pictures of Charles. They need to scrap this scheme and direct the money where it's really needed."

"The coronation is estimated to cost anything from £50-£100m – and we can see why. This waste is absolutely scandalous."