As Britons struggle with cost-of-living crisis… Grant Shapps’s Department for Transport spent thousands on civil servant ‘away days’ where staff were taught how to JUGGLE
- Department for Transport spent nearly £19,000 on ‘away days’ over winter
- Events included ‘group juggling’ as part of ‘ice-breaking and team-building’ day
- Labour accuse ministers of ‘wasting taxpayers’ cash’ during inflation crisis
Thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ cash has been spent on teaching civil servants to juggle and how to build a ‘mini Mexican railway’ at team ‘away days’, it has emerged.
In official data on its spending, the Department for Transport revealed nearly £19,000 was spent on ‘away days’ between November and January.
The events included ‘group juggling’ as part of an ‘ice-breaking and team-building’ day.
The building of a ‘mini Mexican railway’ was reported by the i to involve staff using plastic tubes to guide a ball from across a room.
The revelation about the ‘away day’ spending has seen the Government accused of ‘wasting taxpayers’ cash on absurd days out’ as the British public faces the cost-of-living crisis.
Labour urged Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to concentrate on tackling soaring travel costs for Britons, rather than spending thousands of pounds on team away days for Department for Transport staff
Juggling was part of an ‘ice-breaking and team-building’ day for DfT staff in December last year
DfT’s transparency data revealed a series of sums was spent on ‘away day’ events between 5th November last year and 20th January this year.
They include £1,170 for ‘team away day costs’ for 35 people at Derby Conference Centre, £700 to Holiday Inn for ‘working space for team day’, two £2,700 payments to a company called MindGym for a ‘team away day’, and £1,734 to The Royal Parks for a ‘volunteering away day’ for 17 people.
There was also more than £5,300 paid to ‘Servanimals’ for a ‘team away day’, £2,500 to Calders for ‘team away day costs’, and £2,500 to Zing Events for a team away day for 38 people.
The Zing Events payment was for an event that included the juggling lesson and railway activity.
On its website, Zing Events is described as a ‘pioneering team biilding company’ that delivers ‘a new era of team building activities that combine fun with learning whilst also providing a platform for workforces to develop relationships’.
A 20-minute group juggling session listed on the website describes how participants ‘will get taught how to juggle as one team passing the juggling ball onto the next person while receiving a juggling ball from your other side’.
And the listing for the ‘mini Mexican railway’ activity describes how ‘pairs must construct a contraption that can carry a ball from one end of the room to the other’.
‘Group Juggling’ and ‘Mini Mexican Railway’ activities are listed on the Zing Events website. DfT paid the company more then £2,000 for a team away day for 38 people
Labour urged Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to concentrate on tackling soaring travel costs for Britons, rather than spending thousands of pounds on team away days for his staff.
Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said: ‘As taxpayers count the cost of 15 Tory tax rises and passengers face brutal fare hikes, ministers have been splashing public cash on ludicrous activities.
‘Instead of wasting taxpayers’ cash on absurd days out, the Transport Secretary could try doing his job and tackle the soaring cost of travel facing millions.
‘It’s always the public who pick up the tab for Tory waste. Labour would treat every pound of taxpayer money with the respect it deserves.’
A DfT spokesperson said: ‘We value our staff and recognise the importance training days can have in helping our employees develop new skills.
‘We’re constantly striving to reduce our administration costs and venues are chosen with this in mind.’
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