07 February 2012 2:45 PM

Pulling up trees

Back in the days when Labour were in power, an annual parliamentary question would go down to find out how much Government departments had spent on Christmas trees.

After the Coalition vowed a more Scrooge-like approach, Labour's Gareth Thomas has repeated the trick to make sure they are as good as their word.

For the most part, they have been - sparing the public purse from buying a pine tree and tinsel. But there are a couple of notable exceptions.

Firstly, Caroline Spelman's Environment Department (which is in charge of - you guessed it - trees) spent £2,011 on trees and decorations last year.

And the mysterious "Government Hospitality", which runs the once equally murky wine cellar, spent £2,250 (excluding VAT) on a decorated tree for Lancaster House. According to Foreign Office minister David Lidington, this was to support the "commercial hire" of the building by outside groups.

Let's hope they were charged a little extra to party under the tree.

Craig Woodhouse
Follow me on Twitter @craigawoodhouse


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