POLITICS

Health Ministers Spend £120,000 On Tea And Biscuits In Six Months

22/06/2013 13:51 BST | Updated 22/06/2013 13:51 BST

Health ministers have come under fire after it was revealed their department spent over £100,000 on tea and biscuits in the last six months alone, as the NHS continued to shoulder brutal cuts.

MPs accused politicians of "living on another planet" after it was revealed the Department of Health spent £119,808 on refreshments since January, according to a response to a parliamentary question.

This works out at roughly £1,500 a day on tea breaks.

jeremy hunt

Health ministers... a little too fond of a cuppa?

Shadow public health minister Diane Abbott, who obtained the figures, claimed ministers were "taking the biscuit" as the total spend on refreshments reached £1.5 million since the election in May 2010. She added that families would find the spending "infuriating" following NHS cuts.

Ms Abbott said: "Jeremy Hunt has been caught red-handed before, but despite the promises to cut it out, he's at it again.

"Ministers are living on another planet to the rest of us."

In his reply to Ms Abbott, health minister Daniel Poulter said the average monthly spending on refreshments had dropped from £78,100 in 2009/10 to £15,700 in the first two months of this financial year.

"The department's policy is not to provide refreshments for internal meetings," he said.

"These costs include the provision of refreshments for external meetings and visitors hosted in the department's buildings.

"The department has spent £119,808 (including VAT) on these types of refreshments since January 2013."