UK FOREIGN Secretary William Hague’s private office spent more than £800 of taxpayers’ money sending official Christmas cards to “foreign ministers and other partners” in the UK and abroad last year.
The figure emerged following a Parliamentary Question by Labour MP Michael Dugher (Barnsley East), who quizzed each Whitehall department on the issue.
The Foreign Office figure of £837.40 was the largest returned - but most departments said the private office of the Secretary of State had spent no money on cards at all.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s office spent £359.63 on official Christmas cards, while the office of Wales Secretary David Jones spent £258, plus another £116 on postage.
Ministers in the Department of Health, the Department for International Development, the Department for Culture Media and Sport and the Cabinet Office reporting no spending at all. The Home Office said it sent e-cards instead, meaning no spending.
Brandon Lewis, minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government, also said his team had spent nothing - compared to the last Labour administration which spent £2,855 a year.
And he quipped: “The last administration otherwise did nothing to support the public celebration of Christmas. Since I do not have access to papers of the last administration, I am unable to ascertain whether this was because Labour Ministers were (a) Scrooges or (b) Grinches.”