Hilary Benn Spent Enough For 720,479 Packets of Jammie Dodgers from Waitrose
THERE’S an interesting little tactic that Labour MPs are trying to use in the House of Commons these days. To ask questions about how much a department is spending on this or that and then when they get the answer they can chunter along about how poor widows are being thrown out of their homes over the bedroom tax so that Tory Ministers can spend £x on whatever it is they just asked about.
You know, Yah! Boo! The Tories and only Labour looks out for the working stiff.
This is a tactic that has just received some blowback as the answer given to the question, well, how much has Eric Pickles been spending on catering (given his size this would add another level of joy to the chuntering) was, well, a whole hell of a lot less than Labouir did when they were in power.
The full question and answer is here in Hansard but the important lines are lovely:
To assist the right hon. Member, I would note that this Government has dramatically cut spending compared to the last Labour Government and put in place far tighter rules and restrictions on spending:
The Department spent £553,230 on catering and hospitality in 2008-09, and £456,142 in 2009-10. By 2012-13, spending had been reduced to £58,882 (plus £16,727 of delayed billing from the year before). We anticipate spending in the region of £36,000 in the year 2013-14 (the precise figure will be audited at financial year end).
To place our savings in context, as noted in the answer of 8 April 2014, Official Report, House of Lords, column 270WA, when the right hon. Member was Secretary of State, he spent £444,891 on catering, hospitality and refreshments in 2008-09 and £552,367 in 2009-10.
I know that the right hon. Member has a particular interest in biscuits, so to help quantify this amount, his spending in his last year in office is equivalent today to buying 720,479 packets of Jammie Dodgers from Waitrose (albeit, with a free cup of coffee thrown in).’
They might not be trying that tactic all that soon, eh?