Treasury mandarins billed taxpayers £25k for classes at world-renowned acting school

TREASURY mandarins billed taxpayers £25,000 to take classes at a world-renowned acting school, a dossier of Whitehall waste reveals today. 

Public cash was given to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts for “communication and presentation” workshops for 62 civil servants. 

Public cash was given to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts for “communication and presentation” workshops


Public cash was given to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts for “communication and presentation” workshopsCredit: Alamy

The prestigious institution has trained the likes of Roger Moore, Tom Hiddleston, Joan Collins – and government officials from February to June 2021.

It is exposed in a “scandalous catalogue of waste” blowing the lid on a “culture of lavish spending” on Whitehall credit cards.

Foreign Office staff also spent £2,000 on wellbeing courses at the UK Hypnosis Academy in January 2021.

Later that year the Transport Department spent £5,388 for 29 officials to have training by Service Animals, which claims to use animal behaviours to boost productivity.

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Labour, which compiled the analysis, also blasts diplomats frittering £344,803 on “restaurants and bars” in one year.

Almost £2,000 of taxpayer cash was spent on a “Hot pink photo booth” for a Washington embassy screening of Bond movie No Time To Die. 

The cache highlights the use of luxury hotels, such as the £5,116 spent by officials on stays at the five-star Meruorah Komodo and Mulia Resort in Indonesia over two trips last year. 

And the Passport Office spent £1,552 on purple coloured cups to ensure they were drinking from the same style cups as other Home Office bodies. 

Government Procurement Cards allow departments to make purchases of up to £20,000 easily.

Across 2021, 14 Whitehall departments spent at least £145million on these cards. 

Labour’s Emily Thornberry said: “If you went by the government spending revealed in this report, you would think we were in the last days of Rome, not the worst cost of living crisis for decades. 

“Either ministers do not understand the scale of the problems facing the rest of the country, or they simply do not care.”

But the Tories last night blamed Labour for wasting public money with the “party political stunt”. 

They accused the party of costing taxpayers half a million pounds since 2019 by submitting disclosure requests to departments.

Conservative Party Deputy Chair Nickie Aiken said: “Parliamentary scrutiny of Government is essential and written questions form a key part of that. But Emily Thornberry has taken it to extreme and is wasting public money.

“Labour Party claims to be a government in waiting but rather than dealing with the issues that matter to the British people all they seem to be interested in is playing pointless Party politics.”