Hotels and meals for civil servants cost government £56m a year

Civil servants ran up a £56m bill on hotels and meals last year, official figures have revealed.

Tory MP Grant Shapps obtained the costs of the Treasury and its agencies for 2005-06, and said chancellor Gordon Brown had “a lot of explaining to do”.

But the Treasury dismissed the accusations, saying the subsistence costs were for 11 different agencies, including £50m from HM Customs & Revenue.

Shapps, who tabled questions in Parliament to obtain the figures, said that spending appeared to have gone up by £7.7m over the past four years.

Financial secretary John Healy said the claim was “ridiculous”, as the costs covered 108,000 employees nationwide.

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