PRIME MINISTER David Cameron’s ancestors were among those who received billions of pounds in compensation after slavery was abolished, a study has claimed.
The previously unseen records show exactly who received what in payouts from the Government when slave ownership was abolished by Britain in 1833.
Dr Nick Draper from University College London (UCL), who led the study, says as many as one-fifth of wealthy Victorian Britons derived all or part of their fortunes from slavery.
The records show that Mr Cameron’s first cousin six times removed, General Sir James Duff, an army officer and MP for Banffshire, was awarded £4,101, equal to more than £3m today, to compensate him for the 202 slaves he forfeited on the Grange Sugar Estate in Jamaica.
Mr Cameron declined to comment after a request was made to the No 10 press office, The Independent said.
Other prominent people named included popular author George Orwell, whose great-grandfather, Charles Blair, received £4,442, equal to £3m today, for the 218 slaves he owned, it is also claimed.
Dr Draper told The Independent: "There was a feeding frenzy around the compensation."
Academics from UCL spent three years drawing together 46,000 records of compensation given to British slave-owners into an internet database to be launched for public use on Wednesday (Feb 27).
The British government paid out £20m to compensate approximately 3,000 families that owned slaves for the loss of their "property" when slave-ownership was abolished in Britain's colonies. This figure represented a staggering 40 per cent of the Treasury's annual spending budget and, in today's terms, calculated as wage values, equates to around £16.5bn.
A total of £10m went to slave-owning families in the Caribbean and Africa, while the other half went to absentee owners living in Britain. The biggest single payout went to James Blair (no relation to Orwell), an MP who had homes in Marylebone, central London, and Scotland. He was awarded £83,530, the equivalent of £65m today, for 1,598 slaves he owned on the plantation he had inherited in British Guyana.
The TV chef Ainsley Harriott, who had slave-owners in his family on his grandfather's side, told the newspaper he was shocked by the amount paid out by the. He said: "You would think the government would have given at least some money to the freed slaves who need to find homes and start new lives." He added: "It seems a bit barbaric. It's like the rich protecting the rich."
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