Civil servants splurge �1,300 in East End burlesque club

Civil servants splurged �1,300 of taxpayers’ money in a trendy east London supper club which often puts on burlesque and cabaret entertainment.

The team, from the Department for Communities and Local Government, hired out a room at the Brickhouse in Brick Lane last year and managed to rack up the bill on food and soft drinks alone.

It insists that no alcohol was consumed during the meeting, which was to review how the team worked.

Campaigning groups have now hit out at the splurge, arguing there is “no excuse” for such “lavish spending”.

Matthew Sinclair, director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Spending on credit cards has got way out of hand. We need more transparency and accountability and fewer civil servants running up extravagant bills and leaving them to taxpayers.”

The group is fighting to get other government departments which have refused to disclose the details of credit card spending to do so.

The meeting at the Brickhouse took place on May 25 last year – just a fortnight after the Coalition took office.

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Spilt over three floors, the venue is one of Brick Lane’s most fashionable establishments.

It often puts on risqu� entertainment, from fire eating performers to burlesque.

Only last month, head of the department, Tory Eric Pickles, attacked the use of taxpayer-funded credit cards by officials, saying they have led to a breakdown of “financial controls”.

But the meeting in east London – which was revealed by a national newspaper through a Freedom of Information request - was paid for on department-issued cards.

A spokesperson for Communities and Local Government said: “This event involved hire of a room during the day. It did not involve civil servants attending a burlesque bar.

“The policy on such events has changed. Team review events of this sort would now take place at no or very limited costs, for example through using rooms in the department.”